Monday, January 26, 2009

Kanagawa weekend - Part One

For the better part of last year I saved, saved, and saved some more, for a ski vacation to Nagano this winter. Although we weren't going to ski, I was planning a stay at a huge ski resort and we were just going to enjoy the snow. Then, the hubster chickened out; he's convinced that the snowy mountain roads are impassable and we'll end up needing to be rescued by a St. Bernard carrying a barrel of sake.
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So, on to plan B. We left here Friday evening heading towards Enoshima. We stopped in Atsugi for the night, just to cut down on the number of consecutive hours spent trapped in the car with the kids. Even though Enoshima is only about 40 miles from here, it's easily a 4 hour drive, especially on the weekends.
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Saturday morning we had b'fast at the McD's on the base (we haven't had McD's b'fast for nearly a year!!!) then drove the remaining 1.5 hrs to the island. The pic in the last post is our approach to the island on the navi.
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>Crossing the bridge to Enoshima

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I had no idea what was on Enoshima, just that it was a small island in Sagami Bay, near Kamakura. I thought it'd be a nice scenic drive around an island before heading to the Big Buddah. Turns out, you can hike to the top of the island to the Enoshima Lighthouse Observatory, and on the backside are some cool caves and tidal pools.

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We parked on the island and headed up through a little street crammed with shops and restaurants to the first shrine. There, we found out that you can take a series of 4 escalators to the top of the island where the lighthouse is, but they're only one-way, you have to walk back down. There are tons of scenic overlook areas along the paths and lots of little shrines and gardens.

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G, M, B and E on the steps of the first shrine

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The kids loved the escalators, I thought they were pretty neat too and we got to the top quickly. There was a small outdoor cafe at the top, so we sat down for a quick bite to eat. Because I didn't realize there was actually anything to do on the island, I didn't plan for us to spend much time there, so we were really in a hurry, the Daibutsu closes at 5:00p and since that was our whole reason for being down there in the first place, we couldn't miss it.
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O enjoying a steaming bowl of ramen on the cafe deck. Check out that view!
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It was a beautiful, clear day, a little chilly, but not too bad, totally perfect for our day. After we finished eating we headed through the gardens and over to the observation tower.

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Looking out towards Kamakura, in the general direction of Tokyo

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Our weekend was off to a great start, but I really wish we'd had more time on the island, it really needs at least 1/2 a day's worth of exploring. We're planning to go back in the late spring or summer when we'll be able to enjoy the water and beach.

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2 comments:

Alisa said...

It looks like you all had a nice visit to Enoshima. Did you get to see Mt Fuji? We went around the 3rd of this month, and the kids and I saw Fujisan for the 1st time on land (the other time was via air).
The Whole Kamamura area is SUCH a Big Are to explore... including Enoshima.
(we could spend every weekend there for a month and not see everything!)
Anyways,... if you head to this area again...... maybe we could meet up! I have been following your blog for a while ... lol. I Really Enjoed it when i was missing Japan and living in VA. ;)

Slime said...

LOL, I'm finding that's true of nearly every place we visit in Japan! There's so much to see, my husband says I'm crazy when I complain that I'm running out of time, when we still have more than a 1.5 yrs left here!

And ditto on the invite if you're ever in my neck of the woods. Although we all need new shoes, so it may be time for a trip to the NEX!