Thursday 30 June 2016

The Japanese Food Adventure Chapter 2 - Day 17. Kamakura and Enoshima

Our research before arriving in Japan had lead us to some information on two places South of Tokyo that sounded interesting, Kamakura and Enoshima. We caught the Chuo line to Tokyo station where we stopped to buy some food for the journey. This bento box display looked tempting but we were looking for something a bit lighter for breakfast this morning.

This giant screen outside Shinjuku station kept the smokers entertained whilst they had a quick puff on their way to work.

Hello Kitty barriers, it was only a matter of time before we spotted these!

Our breakfast mission wasn't particularly successful, this was the best we could find. My wife had the egg and I had the meat.

Once at Kamakura station we had another quick bite to eat before searching for our first stop, Kotoku-in. This custard pastry and coffee was rather nice and a bit of a bargain at just ¥260 (about £1.90)

Kotoku-in is a Buddhist Temple about a 30 minute walk away from Kamakura station, it's renowned for it's giant bronze statue of Amida Buddha.

For just ¥30 (about 20p) you could go inside the giant bronze statue. 

The windows at the back of the statue let the natural light flood into room below. Inside we learnt that the statue had been damaged many times over the years by storms, a tsunami and an earthquake.

I saw somebody walking past with one of these and ice cream envy grew strong. I rushed to find out where they were selling them and soon was holding my own. A nicely presented mix of green tea and vanilla flavours, not bad at all.

Beside the statue hung the Buddha's slippers, they were huge.

As we left Kotoku-in we turned a corner onto a street where everyone was selling ice creams. I started to wonder if maybe I should have waited and got an ice cream here instead, oh well too late now...

As well as ice cream shops the street had numerous cat themed shops, my wife was loving it and her dress was very appropriate for this street.

This chap was selling Takoyaki from the back of his truck, I didn't need much convincing.

It tasted so good! This Takoyaki was topped with mayo, spring onion and tiny fish. I seem to remember the usual octopus being replaced in these balls with something else but can't for the life of me remember what it was, something fishy though.

We spotted more street food so stopped to buy some, my wife chose the potato fritter on the right. The cat sunglasses were bought in Harajuku the previous day, by my wife not me!

I chose a beef curry filled sweet doughnut purely because it sounded like such an odd combination. Don't dismiss the idea of this though, this combination works beautifully!

We popped into a discount store for some drinks, 2 for ¥100 (about 73p) was a great price.

My wife didn't really enjoy this jasmine iced tea but struck gold with some Moomin biscuits.

Each one was different.

From Haze station we were travelling to Enoshima on the Enoden Line.

The Enoden line is privately owned by the Odakyu Group, most of the track is single line with double sections at some stations where the trains can pass each other. Between Koshigoe and Enoshima stations the track runs along the street for 450 metres which is quite an unexpected shock when you first notice cars pulled over and people standing back to let the train pass.

I regretted not buying this fruit and cream sandwich spotted in a local store by the station. Next time I saw one I decided I'd definitely buy it.

Enoshima is a small island connected to the mainland by a bridge, it has some of the closet sandy beaches to Tokyo.

There's plenty to look at on Enoshima including a shrine, caves and an observation tower.

Before exploring the island we decided to sit down with a nice cold beer.

This spot on the boardwalk was the perfect place to relax with a beer, sometimes it's nice to just sit back and watch life go by. These local fisherman all looked like they were having a great afternoon, the cat kept sniffing around hoping they might share their catch.

The fish restaurants nearby certainly push the boat out when it comes to presentation.

The main street on the island leads you up under a torii gate towards Enoshima-jinja Shrine, it's lined with souvenir shops and restaurants.

Just passed another torii gate you climb the steps to Enoshima-jinja Shrine. There are a number of escalators here making it accessible to anyone unable to cope with so many steps.

We climbed the steps enjoyed the many sights on the way up.

I didn't manage to capture it on camera but this area is home to Eagles which hover overhead, we spotted two whilst standing here.

This I had to try, black vanilla ice cream! Actually though despite it's appearance it didn't really taste any different to white vanilla ice cream.

Just lemonade but possibly the best label on a bottle I can ever remember seeing.

On the far side of the island there was a low rocky area, popular with fisherman and tourists.

Beside the rocky area were some caves, we decided to go inside for a closer look.

Entry to the caves cost ¥500 (about £3.60), once inside you're given a small candle to help you see where you're going.

The caves are called Enoshima Iwaya and were created by approximately 6,000 years of sea erosion, there are 2 separate caves to explore.

As we headed to the second cave we passed a rock in the sea in the shape of a turtle. Quite difficult to see initially but as the waves lowered you could make out the shape of the head and the shell.

At the end of the second cave was a dragon, beside it was a drum. A sign told us to hit the drum twice to see if lightning appeared, it did everytime!

After visiting the caves we sat for a while on the nearby rocks looking out to sea, such a peaceful and beautiful spot.

All over the lower parts of the island were signs directing you to safe zones in the event of a tsunami. 

The Enoshima Sea Candle is an observation lighthouse, we didn't go inside but it's said to offer stunning 360-degree panoramic views of the surrounding areas. On a clear day it's possible to see Mt Fuji from here apparently.

Next we went searching for this, the grave of Kengo Sugiyama.

It's said that if you find something around this gravestone, you will have good luck.
I picked up this pebble and popped it into my pocket.

As we reached the main street in Enoshima I kept seeing people eat what looked like a giant crisp with a lobster or octopus imprinted in the centre. The queue for these was really long so I didn't bother trying one and they remained a mystery to me at the time. Since returning though I looked them up and found out what they are. The fresh seafood e.g. small lobster or octopus is placed onto the senbei-making machine and pressed into the steaming-hot senbei. Once it’s done, you will see the entire lobster or octopus in the middle of the senbei.

Back at Enoshima station we noticed some bird statues on the railings. Someone had knitted each of the birds an outfit to wear!

We boarded the train and started our journey back to Koenji.

Before returning to the hotel we popped into the local supermarket for some food and plum wine. I spotted another fruit and cream sandwich in the supermarket, this time I snapped it up!

10 pieces of gyoza cost just ¥368 (about £2.65), once heated up they were delicious. I love gyoza and even from the supermarket they were really good.

This rice snack contained half an egg.

The fruit sandwich wasn't quite as healthy as it may sound due to the thick layer of cream. Really nice though and something I've only ever seen in Japan.

Click here for Day 18
A birthday in Yokohama