Enoshima Island adventures

If you didn’t already know, I love traveling and exploring new places. So when a family friend asked what I wanted to do on our day off, I asked if we could explore the tiny island of Enoshima.

Ever since coming to Japan, I have developed a weird obsession with manhole covers. I always post them on my Instagram (@travelsinwonderland) with the hashtag #おすいinwonderland When I found so many in Enoshima, I knew it was going to be a great trip!


Enoshima is about 1 hour away from Tokyo Station. I live about 30 minutes away from central Tokyo, so it took me 1 hour and a half. It cost me about 1220 yen ($12 USD) one way and 3 trains later, I had arrived at Katase- Enoshima Station.

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Here is the route that I took. I love how easy it is to navigate around Japan using public transportation.

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This is right outside of Katase-Enoshima Station. It was a bit gloomy the day I went. Okay.. I admit.. I took this photo of the station as I was heading home at around 5:30 pm ish.. (:

From this station, just follow the crowds.. This usually works.. But my friend had one place in mind that she wanted to take me for lunch. The restaurant was a Japanese style Italian restaurant called Il Chianti. They had all kinds of pizzas and pastas and wines, but we decided to order the specialty of Enoshima: Shirasu pizza. Shirasu are baby sardines that are popular in Enoshima. The taste of the shirasu pizza was not fishy at all. Actually, I didn’t notice the taste of the shirasu while I consumed almost half the pizza. To be safe, we also ordered a more familiar type of pizza: Prosciutto with arugala. Oh, and we started with some garlic clams. Omg, it was so garlic-y and so delicious. I just wish they had served some baguette or something on the side to soak up all the garlic sauce.

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Shirasu Pizza

After lunch, we went to explore the island of Enoshima. There are two ways to get to the island: Walking across the bridge or catching a ferry ride to the island. The ferry ride is 400 yen (~$4). We had just finished a huge, filling lunch, so we decided walk it off.

Once you cross the bridge, about 5 minutes, you reach the Torii. Usually toriis are red and made of wood, but the torii in Enoshima is actually made of bronze and has a green color now.

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Enoshima Torii

I’m no Enoshima expert, but what I did was follow the crowd. Oddly, we kept climbing uphill. Everywhere we went was all uphill. P.S. If you do come and check out Enoshima, bring lots of sunblock.. or protective sun gear! 🙂

After climbing up many stairs, we decided we were done climbing up stairs in the heat. Ha! Luckily, Enoshima island is smart and built escalators for the lazy people like me! All you have to pay is 1000 yen (~$10) and it is an all day pass to ride all the escalators AND gives you entry to many attractions like gardens and the Sea Candle (aka Enoshima Tower).


Once you climb up about 3 escalators, you finally reach the shrines! Purify yourself with the water at this fountain. Then, it is time to collect all the small change you got in the bottom of your bag and pray! Toss some yen in, bow twice, clap twice and end with one final deep bow… Now, just hope your wishes all come true! Be careful though, Enoshima is a “love” or “couples” island.. I accidentally almost prayed at a couples/love shrine.. I don’t even have a boyfriend.. lol jokes on me for not reading the signs.

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From here, my phone’s memory space was low..because #aliceproblems so many things I saw were missing..

Next, we made it to the Sea Candle! I love love love going up towers. The views are always my favorite and luckily I have no fear of heights! The Sea Candle isn’t really too high.. It is only 59.8 M tall and 119.6 M above sea level. Baby tower size! If you got the Eno Pass, it is included! Take the elevator up, and it will take you to a viewing room that is indoors. Look for the rooftop stairs that will take you up a little higher with unobstructed views and a cool ocean breeze. If you do go to Enoshima in the summer, it is nice to just enjoy the cool refreshing breeze and relax before heading down.


After the Sea Candle, its time to hike back down after “climbing” up so many flights escalators. Here you will find many freshly caught seafood restaurants and tiny shops selling gifts to bring back to your friends and family. I wish we could have stopped for some fresh seafood, but we were all so full still! Darn it.

Soon, you’ll reach the opposite edge of the island where you will find tide pools with many families trying to catch tiny fish and crabs.


Enoshima Cave

There are two “caves” in Enoshima. It was nice to go inside because it stays cool during the summer and warm during the winters. There is an entry fee, but if you have the Eno Pass it is included as well. In cave 1, people come to see the birthplace of Enoshima shrine and pray.

In cave two, you can make a wish to the dragon and read more about why Enoshima is also known as a love island. When you reach the dragon, make a wish! If the light flashes twice, it means your wish will come true. Lucky for me, my wish will come true! I hope.. haha.


It’s finally time to go home!!! Boy, today was a long and hot day. I got sunburnt but had a great time. Since we were all exhausted from exploring and walking around all day, we decided to take the ferry back. It cost 400 yen and was a very short ride, about 7 minutes. In the ferry, you’ll see many jet skis whizzing past you doing all kinds of crazy things you wish you were doing.


Did I mention how there were many Hawaiian things in Enoshima? There’s even the popular Eggs N Things there! The lines were insane.. So, before catching the train back to Tokyo, we cooled off and relaxed at Aloha Table with refreshing, fresh watermelon juice and Black Salt soft serve. Both, I highly recommend if they are both still there!

And, of course I can’t explore anywhere without getting souvenirs for myself. I love Hello Kitty, so I always collect the gotochi items they have for every city in Japan. (:

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FINALLY, it was time to go home. There are two wants to get back to Tokyo. You can take the cheaper route and ride the local trains from the station to Tokyo, or you can take the Odakyu Limited Express Romance Car for an extra 620 yen. You will ride a special express train direct to Shinjuku where there is free wifi onboard, food and drink available for purchase in the carts, and comfortable, reserved seats.

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I hope you will be able to explore Enoshima some day!

xoxo,

alice

 

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From Having No Job to Moving to Japan in 2 months

“How did you move to Japan so quickly after graduating university?”

When I told people, “oh, I’m moving to Japan in like 2 months,” they mostly replied with, “huh?”

Moving to Japan wasn’t a completely spontaneous decision. The idea actually came to mind in November of 2014 while I was completing my senior year in university. I was taking a Japanese language class for fun because I had the extra time and credits and thought it would be a good idea to brush up on my Japanese. It was by far one of my most favorite classes in university because the teacher was amazing and I was able to relearn all the Japanese I had lost growing up.

Because I was enrolled in the Japanese class, there were a bunch of Japanese related university emails. Usually I would just click “archive” in my gmail inbox and move on. But I was bored on my way to school on the train one day and read through the email. I’m so glad I did. That was when I found out they had informed every Japanese language student that there was an opportunity to move to Japan and teach English. The time I had to make my decision and apply was very short. I had to make my mind up quickly. Should I apply and just hope I get this position? I don’t know, I don’t have any other jobs I’ve applied to yet. Should I be looking for better jobs in America?

Hmm.. I thought so much about this opportunity. I knew I would absolutely love to live in Japan. I knew I could teach English with my eduction background. I knew this would literally be the perfect opportunity for me to live in Japan and have a job straight out of college. I knew it was perfect for me.

I applied after thinking about it for a week. I scrambled to get recommendation letters, transcripts, and permission from my parents. I knew my parents would support me no matter what, but I wasn’t too sure if they would allow me to move to another country around the world to work in a country where I only kind of barely speak the language.

The wait killed me. I wasn’t sure if I was going to have a job when I graduate. I wasn’t sure if I should start applying for jobs before I graduate. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to teach in the American school system. I left my future completely in the hands of those in charge of accepting and rejecting applicants to the JET Programme. Luckily, they liked me!

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This is an old photo of a journal entry I had made in my Midori Traveler’s Notebook.

Mar 30, 2015: I was accepted into the JET Programme.

May 26, 2015: I found out I was placed in the dream place of many, Tokyo, Japan.

I moved to Japan under the Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme (JET). They are a very well known and respected “program” in Japan that hires college graduates to come teach in Japan’s public schools: elementary, middle, and even high school. There are thousands of JETs (people working under the JET Programme) placed everywhere in Japan, including all major cities and all of the tiny islands.

Why Japan?

“Why Japan?”

Ask me again. I dare you.

I hate when people ask me, “So, why Japan?”

My usual reply is, “why the heck not?” I should just ask them back the same question.

“Why America? Why Korea? Why whatever-country-you’re-living-in?”


Hi, my name is Alice and I live in Tokyo, Japan.

In August of 2015, I moved from America to Japan with 2 big Rimowa suitcases, 1 carry on Tumi suitcase, and a Jansport backpack. I entered the Land of the Rising Sun under an “Instructor” visa. I had just turned 22 and had just graduated from university less than 2 months ago.

Wow. So young right? Meh.

K, let’s get back to the original question. “Why Japan?”

When I was younger, I used to always be most excited for spring vacation. It was the shortest vacation out of the 3 main ones, winter, spring, and summer, but it was still my most favorite.

Why?

Basically because it was when I would go to Japan with my family. It was when I could eat all the amazing Japanese foods that Japan has to offer. It was when I could go see my grandma and aunts and uncles living in Japan. It was when I could shop for all the Hello Kitty and Sanrio items I couldn’t find in America. It was when I could wander through stationery stores to buy the newest pens and pencils to bring back and share with my friends. It was when I could find drink vending machines on every corner to get my hot Royal Milk Tea fix. It was when I could not worry about anything and feel safe in the country of Japan.

I chose Japan because it is most comfortable for me. It is nostalgic. I wanted to live in a country where I will be immersed in the culture that I grew up in while learning new things about my Japanese heritage. I wanted to live in a country where I would be on my own, but also have support from family if I really needed it. I wanted to be able to eat sushi that wouldn’t give me food poisoning and ramen at 5 in the morning.

Now do you get why I love Japan? If you don’t, I think you just need to visit Japan and see for yourself. I’ll take you around if you need a tour guide. Maybe you won’t like it here. Maybe you’ll fall in love with it like I did.

And these are the reasons why I always answer with “why the heck not?”