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Published on 04.27.2016
Enoden Line, an abbreviation of The Enoshima Electric Railway, is a short 30-minute train ride close to Tokyo with end points at Kamakura and Fujisawa stations. It might seem odd to hear so, but this short 15-station line is quite popular in Japan for its scenic views and is often featured in the media.
Starting its journey on Christmas Day in 1902, Enoden Line has since kept its original style of a vintage railway line and vintage-style trains. The trains are typically green coloured (sometimes blue) and feature wooden floors; the only modernisation they have been equipped with are air conditioners. Covering a distance of about 10 km, the trains drive leisurely from one point to another with changing scenery and this is where its charm lies; taking this train can be likened to taking an enjoyable sightseeing trip of unique and diverse sceneries. For its vintage style and the beautiful journey that it offers, this railway line has received abundant media attention via manga, anime and movies, such as in Spirited Away when the lead character takes an Enoden-like train in the sea.
Although technically a train, at some point of the journey it becomes a tram driving through urban landscape. The train passes through towns, residential areas and along the sea. Despite its short journey, the stations along the way are popular with tourists and beach goers. One of Enoden’s unique features is that the stations are decorated to match the local areas and the seasons. Some of the notable stations to get off at and explore are thus:
Departing from the west side, this is the first stop of the journey. The station is surrounded by shops selling clothes and food. At the station, passengers are greeted by seasonal flowers before getting on the train. Both ends of the line feature frogs on the actual railway decorated according to each season. The word for frog is “kaeru” in Japanese which has the same pronunciation as the word for returning, thus using symbolism to wish a safe return for passengers.
Five stops away from Fujisawa Station is Enoshima Station which is the closest stop to Enoshima Island. Connected to mainland by a bridge, this area is popular with tourists and visitors during daytime and the weekends. The station is decorated with birds wearing clothes that change with season, which is sewn by a local. There are many sightseeing opportunities for visitors such as shrines, the beach and caves. There is also Love Bell here where couples ring the bell together and attach locks with their names on them to the fence. From this station onwards, as soon as the train departs from the station, it drives along the road with side-by-side with cars, giving passenger an exciting experience of being on a railway and a road at the same time.
From this station the train runs slowly as it passes through residential areas. The railway line is so narrow that it is possible to touch the resident’s flowers and trees-but please don’t pull them. Afterwards, the train emerges from in-between the houses and the greenness into a spectacular vast open views of the blue sea. The seaside views of this train are the most mesmerising and therefore being part of popular culture. The station most famous of its sea-views is at the next stop, at Kamakura Kotto Mae Station.
With a beach nearby and dark sand rich in iron, this station is worth getting-off at for its captivating views, especially at sunset. The best place to do this is at Inamuragasaki Park where vistas of Mountain Fuji against the backdrop of the setting sun can be enjoyed.
Gokurakiji Station and Hase Station:
Both of these stations, are tourist spots famous for temples and hydrangea flowers that bloom from June to July. The former station is close to Gokuraji Temple and Jojuin Temple, while the latter is closer to The Great Buddha Statue (Kotokuin Temple), Goryo Jinja Shrine and Hasedara Temple. The temples offer excellent opportunities for fans of photography when the hydrangea season sets the temples and shrines area in dazzling brilliance.
This is the end station, which like the first, has another frog wishing well for passengers. This is in fact the place where the first frog was installed on the railway line. Like the previous stations, Kamakura is a historical area with temples, shrines and historical buildings and several sandy beaches.
Operating hours: 05:00 – 00:00 (every 12 mins, except for early morning and late at night)
Tickets: one way from start-to-end ¥300 (adult) and ¥150 (children);
one-day pass ¥600 (adults) and ¥300 (children)
Read more from Tomoko Kamishima: http://en.japantravel.com/profile/tomoko-kamishima/41
Music: Silent Partner (YouTube Audio Library)
Source: Japan Travel