Located about an hour (train ride) from Yokota, the Tama Zoo is a real gem tucked in the Tama Hills of southwest Tokyo. We took the train to Tachikawa and then switched to the monorail to continue to the zoo. The entrance is impressive Continue reading
How do you end a first-ever six week stay in Japan? It was Maddie’s last week here with us and as the “last hurrah” we took a night flight over Tokyo. The weather had been uncooperative, causing the pilot to cancel on two previous nights, but oh how fortunate that turned out to be. In our pre-flight briefing, Continue reading
Boarding our tour bus at 6:30 a.m., my husband, granddaughter and I were looking forward to our day visiting Enoshima aquarium and island. Little did we know we would do more sitting than visiting…sitting on the bus, that is. Shortly after leaving the base, our tour guide explained that we should expect crowds, because not only was it Sunday but also a Japanese holiday…called “beach day” or something similar. My first thought (besides wondering how we could escape) was, who in their right mind would plan a tour on a Japanese holiday called “beach day” to the beach that is closest to the most populated city in the world? But, there was no turning back at that point.
Enoshima means “island of the river” which refers to its location at the mouth of the Katase River in Sagami Bay. The trip took about 3 1/2 hours one way and the closer we got to our destination, the more congested the traffic became. The last 30 minutes or so we drove along the beautiful beaches of Kamakura (also home of a giant Buddha statue that we have yet to see). We did notice that the beaches were crowded, but when we got to the aquarium, the crowds were unbelievable. We did get to see some pretty incredible fish, and my granddaughter got to do some souvenir shopping, but due to tour time limitations we had to return to the bus to take the short ride (probably a mile at the most) to the island.
Heading to the island on a 2-lane bridge, traffic was at a standstill much of the time. When we were able to move, it seemed like only inches. During our seemingly endless 1-mile ride, we did enjoy the parade of several shrines with people dressed in kimono and playing drums. Of course we could look to the right or left and see people of all ages enjoying the beach. It took us about two hours to travel this short distance, leaving little time to explore this beautiful little island. We did walk up the main shopping street, with dozens of souvenir shops on either side. The walk was all uphill and we only made it to the red tori gate of the shrine. We did see some incredible flowers along the way and did manage to get some ice cream and "Dippin' Dots" (good ole USA product) in lieu of lunch. We passed on the various fish-on-a-stick offerings that were displayed in front of several restaurants along the way. I particularly wanted to see the gardens and climb to the top of the island lighthouse, but we just didn't have time. We had to catch the bus back to base, which was another 3 hour trip. All in all, we spent about 8-9 hours on the bus that day. (Just for the record, I did ask for my money back, to no avail).
I will say that the island was very beautiful and I would love will return another time, maybe in fall or spring but definitely NOT on "beach day."