We decided to take our trip to Enoshima and Kamakura.which was about an hour and a half from central Tokyo and sort of like Southend-on-Sea.
Firstly, we took the train from Shinjuku to Katase-Enoshima station, which was shaped rather oddly, it kind of reminded me of the bathhouse in Spirited away because it was so bright and cartoony.
Right next to the station is the beach; the sand was a little dirty and the sea wasn't crystal clear, but the place itself was fantastic and a popular place for surfers. Enoshima also boasts a gigantic aquarium, but golden week crowds meant that if we wanted to enter it would have taken about an hour and a half, so we saved that for next time.
We did, however wait in-line for forty minutes to have Enoshima's speciality food "Shirasu-don". Enoshima and Kamakura are famous for shirasu, which is whitebait - a teeny-tiny white fish. In this particular area of Japan you can eat whitebait anything; whitebait burgers, deep-fried whitebait and even whitebait ice cream!
We played it safe and stuck to the shirasu-don (whitebait on rice) with spring onion, pickles and miso soup. This particular dish features both raw and boiled whitebait. It was really refreshing and delicious, especially with the dash of ginger paste they added, if you can get over the hundreds of eyeballs staring at you, I definitely recommend this!
The restaurant had a beautiful view of the ocean too and had traditional style tatami mats, a perfect place to enjoy traditional Enoshima culture.
After eating lunch we headed to one of the local shrines, which is famous for the resident cats that live there! We spotted about three cats, they all seemed pretty elderly and were enjoying the warmth of the sun and the attention from tourists. They didn't seem to mind people petting them or taking photos and are a popular tourist attraction.
I do wonder if they are there all year though, even in winter, I assume they take refuge in the shrine under the protection of the gods that dwell in the shrine.
Next we headed to Kamakura, which is a short hop on the train. Everyone who goes to Kamakura must at first visit the famous "Daibutsu" the giant bronze statue of Buddha. There are a few of them in Japan, such as the one in Nara, but this one is definitely worth a look! The entry is 200yen to see Buddha, but there is also a beautiful shrine and traditional Japanese garden attached to it and a gift shop that sells hundreds of Buddha-themed goods.
After watching the great Daibutsu we became hungry again so we decided to eat some of Kamakura's speciality foods. First we started off with Sweet potato Korokke; kind of like mushed-up sweet potato covered in breadcrumbs and deep-fried, it was strangely salty but sweet at the same time. I personally found it delicious and a nice alternative to fried chicken which can be found at every convenience store in Japan.
And then sweet potato ice cream!
You can buy this anywhere in Kamakura and they come in varying shades of purple. they are all delicious and all have a sweet potato aftertaste, it's perfect for people who don't like super sweet flavors like chocolate.
Then finally, I discovered this hidden gem in Kamakura; the studio Ghibli shop!
The building itself was made from stone and look as though it was pulled straight from a ghibli movie, the interior was one and the same with a very european and medieval feel. Not only were there mounds and mounds of cute collectables such as plushies and figures, but practical things too like clocks, towels and kitchen utensils. I kind of need ghibli themed kitchen now.
If you are ever in Kamakura, please do check out this store and some of the speciality foods, next time I want to try "Tako Senbei" a kind of octopus rice cracker that is super popular from the area.
Have a great golden week everyone!~