WATCH THE VIDEO OF OUR TRIP HERE!
If you wondering where to start searching outside of Tokyo, visiting Yokohama and Kamakura is a must. It is only about an hour long train ride to get from the city, and yet you feel as if you have escaped somewhere even further. So myself, boyfriend, and a few of our friends from all over the world decided to take a trip to Enoshima, Kamakura, and Yokohama!
This location is particularly known for shirasu.
It's a very small fish that is used in various dishes and street food. This is also where you can eat it fresh! It surprisingly doesn't have a strong fish taste, but it definitely has a strong taste of the sea. The picture below is taken from a small restaurant up the stairs. This is a Shirasu Bowl where half the shirasu has been steamed, and the other half is served raw which sits on top of some rice.
My dish was fresh salted horse mackerel served with miso soup, rice, and pickled vegetables. As extravagant these dishes may look, each dish estimated around $15USD each! I'd say that isn't a bad price for something so fresh and served by the sea on a great day. It also filled us up to get us ready for the long day ahead of us! This is somewhat of a regret of ours, because we later found a street where even more food was served on the sides. So we needed to work off all the food before we could get hungry again.
Did I mention this entire area has an immense amount of cats just crawling around? Whether by the shrines, on the streets, on the benches, or even following you to have a bite of that shirasu, they are a notable attraction in Enoshima and are generally calm and asleep most of the time. There is no restriction on petting them, but it is highly suggested you do not feed them or carry them.
You eventually notice the most iconic landmark on Enoshima, which is called the Enoshima Sea Candle. This is a lighthouse observation tower that visitors can travel to and receive a beautiful view of the entire island. We unfortunately did not go into the candle, but I still managed to take a decent photo of it!
After walking, we also tried what is called Tako Senbei, which is octopus that has been flattened into one ginormous thin cracker! If you have ever had shrimp chips, it tastes a lot like this. The smell is very strong (but in a good way, my opinion) and some of us being picky eaters, we all loved it! I would say this is another treat you should give a chance in this area.
There were quite a few bigger looking shrines around Enoshima. Some look over love, beauty, health, or overall wellbeing.
Afterwards, you go through the final tourist street before you hit the beach on your right. These were our final stops in Enoshima before heading over to Kamakura.
ELFEN LIED COMPARISON PICS
I must admit, it was very surreal seeing and taking shots from the exact places that inspired the anime. When you first get out of the station, that in itself is also the very scene from the first episode; which I neglected to take a photo of. If you go to your left, up the hill, you will easily find these locations very soon. I did not find the maple house, which is the place where all the main characters lived in, but there was a giant house that looked similar to it by that staircase. But it's hard to say if it really was the same one. Nonetheless, it was a very memorable experience that gave me a few chills. I even began to whip out my phone and started playing the music box version of Lilium as we were here. Maybe next time in Kamakura I will have enough time to visit all the locations.
Now the heat was really getting to us and we wanted to take another rest. We found a cafe on the way and saw they served rainbow donuts!
(Appropriate term is Rainbow Malasada)
We only ordered 3, but they took quite a bit of time preparing them. I suppose it was made fresh, because it sure tasted it like it!
Last location we visited was the The Great Buddha of Kamakura, or Kamakura Daibutsu.
This is a must visit when coming to Kamakura. You are allowed up to a certain time to go inside the Buddha (for us it was 4:20pm blaze it).
It costs ¥200 ($2USD) to enter the temple, and extra ¥20 ($0.20USD) to go inside the Buddha statue per person.
Be wary that it is extremely narrow and cramped when first going inside the statue. They enforce visitors to not bring their bags into the statue because of the cramped space inside. When you first go in, you must turn and go up some incredibly steep stairs and inside you will see some signs explaining the unique strategies used to accomplish the statue's architecture. Next to that will be another plate with very old Japanese writing. I asked my boyfriend, Joey, to see if he could translate it, but even he had difficulty understanding the kanji.
Instead, we decided to go Chinatown. It is hands down the biggest Chinatown I have been to yet. There are constant restaurants side by side serving all you can eat, sweets, dumplings, etc. We found a place that seemed to have the most diverse menu to fit us all since we had a vegetarian, and a few with some allergies.
So if you come to Yokohama, or Kamakura, or Enoshima, I can promise you it will be a vigorous and refreshing trip during your stay in Japan!