Mario and I had always wanted to visit one of Japan’s many cat islands (islands populated by more cats than humans), but these cat islands are usually in very inaccessible areas, and getting there can involve lengthy train rides, bus rides, and then a ferry ride. So, when we found out about Enoshima being also a cat island, but a much more accessible one (just 1.5hr from Tokyo by train, and no need to get onto a bus or a ferry), we decided to check it out.
You can walk to Enoshima Island from either Katase-Enoshima or Enoshima Station, so plot your route carefully using Hyperdia to check which destination station is a better route for you! Enoshima is actually very near other tourist hotspots like Kamakura and Yokohama, so you could stay in Yokohama or Fujisawa (in between Yokohama and Enoshima/Kamakura) as a base for exploring the area for 2-3 days. This would reduce the amount of travelling needed if you intend to visit these areas!
For us, we alighted at Katase-Enoshima Station, which has a really cool temple-like facade.
Then we had to cross a bridge to walk to Enoshima Island. The sun was killing me, so I succumbed and bought the largest floppy hat I could find.
It was about a 10-minute walk in the sweltering heat, so the first thing we did when we got to Enoshima Island was to grab some soft-serve ice cream!
In my research, I found out that Enoshima Island was very hilly and there are three long escalators built especially as a short cut alternative to the never-ending stairs that you would otherwise have to climb. The catch – you have to pay to use the escalators. Since it was summer and unbearably hot, we decided not to make ourselves suffer any more than necessary, so we bit the bullet and paid to use the escalators. Good thing there was an ENOPASS option! You pay 1000yen and get to use the escalators, plus get free entrance into the main attractions on Enoshima Island! Pretty good deal!
While buying the ENOPASS, we spotted the first Enoshima cat! It was just snoozing.
We’d purchased some cheap cat treats and kibbles from Lawson100 earlier in the day, but even the treats weren’t enough to stir the cat!
We decided to leave the cat to its own devices and take a ride on the first escalator!
It was really quite long! Money well-spent. 😛
When we stepped off the escalator, we found ourselves at the Enoshima Shrine.
I made a beeline for this area – only because it was summer!
Snapped some shots of my nails then as well:
We then entered the Samuel Cocking Garden.
Mario is my biggest fan/stalker.
We then went up the observation tower, which was a godsend because… IT WAS AIR-CONDITIONED.
Plus, you get a good view of the entire island.
Oh, one more thing about Enoshima’s escalators – they only go up, so you have to walk back down. While making our way to the Iwaya Caves on the other side of Enoshima Island, we spotted some flowers and berries:
… AND ANOTHER CAT! We were starting to despair because we hadn’t seen any more cats and were starting to feel very let down. Where were all the cats we were promised?!?!?
We’d read articles that mentioned a cat population of 200, but… so far we’d only seen two. Okay. Onwards to the caves.
The caves were ok, but nothing spectacular because they weren’t very long. Very small caves! A little wet and cool inside, and dark too, but we were given lit candles to light up the way.
Outside the caves, you can see the sea. And if you step onto the rocky shore, where plenty of people like to take photos, you might find a surprise.
Like maybe a hundred sea cockroaches.
Super gross. They moved quite fast too.
Ok, back to nicer photos. We found more cats!
… making that a grand total of 5 cats. I think our HDB void deck has more cats than that.
Back in the streets! We decided to queue for super-flattened octopus crackers!
It was paper-thin and quite yummy!
Even better – found another cat right across the cracker stall.
Snacked on a grilled corn (not so good) from another roadside stall before we left Enoshima.
Instead of returning to Katase-Enoshima Station, we decided to explore the mainland a little by wandering along the alleys until we reached Enoshima Station… which had these cute little bird sculptures on the railings, with knitted clothes on!
In summary… DON’T BELIEVE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT ENOSHIMA BEING A CAT ISLAND. You’d be better off in a cat cafe, or committing to a longer journey to a proper cat island. If you’re into cultural stuff like shrines, caves, gardens, etc, Enoshima can still be a pleasant day trip for you. For us – once was enough. If you plan on visiting Enoshima, check out this useful guide!