Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Shonan-Enoshima Beach

Tokyo, once summer kicks in after the yawn-inspiring rainy season ends, in mid-July, is hot - sometimes unbearably so, combined as it is with a humidity hovering round 75%.

So, like most people located in close proximity to the coast, Tokyoites flock to the beach to cool off, and the closest decent offering is Enoshima, right near the ancient capital of Japan (Kamakura) which can be reached by monorail from Ofuna JR Station, 48 km south-east of Tokyo.

Enoshima is actually a tiny island, linked by bridge to the famous Shonan surf resort area, which is itself named after an ancient beauty spot on the Xiang River, in China.

The popular area has also featured in a lot of manga and anime over the years, such as ‘90s series, Shonan Jumai-Gumi.

The truth is, while it’s a great play to cool off and see Japanese kids let their hair down and put heavy makeup on, the beach has a reputation for being more than a little dirty - and the gray-black volcanic sand certainly doesn’t lift that impression.

But the monorail, the shrines atop Enoshima itself, and a good quick swim at the height of summer are well worth the visit. Just be careful from August on, when the jellyfish start settling in.

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