Exploring Enoshima by Enoden Train: a Joyful Nostalgic ride

Step aboard the Enoden train and get ready for a whimsical adventure through time past the casual coastal waves and Japan countryside. This charming little train, with its vintage appeal and picturesque route, offers a delightful way to explore the coastal gems of Kamakura and Enoshima. There’s a touch of nostalgic magic - after all, this is a country that whizzes so fast with innovation into the future, that there’s something so special when heritage is appreciated and preserved. I’m a bit of a train geek - so living in Tokyo with its labyrinthine metro is a dream come true public transit system for me. But the Enoden, every time I make this trip between Kamakura and Enoshima island by this bygone era train, my heart swells. There are very few like it left aesthetically. Curious? Follow me on Instagram and YouTube for more adventures! 

©istock/ gyro

The Enoden train, officially known as the Enoshima Electric Railway, has a fascinating history that dates back over a century. Originally established in 1902, the Enoden train played a significant role in facilitating tourism and connecting local communities. Its development coincided with the rise of Kamakura as a prominent cultural and historical hub, attracting visitors from near and far. The Enoden train quickly became an essential mode of transportation, carrying passengers between Kamakura's attractions and the picturesque Enoshima island.

Over the years, the Enoden train has witnessed significant changes and modernisation. The original steam-powered locomotives were eventually replaced with electric trains, which allowed for smoother and more efficient operations. Fear not! Despite these advancements, the Enoden train has managed to retain its nostalgic charm and vintage aesthetic, capturing the hearts of both locals and tourists. The Enoden train's popularity extends beyond its role as a mode of transportation. It has become a cultural icon in Japan and has been featured in various forms of media, including literature, films, and television shows. Its distinctive appearance, with its vibrant red color and retro design, has made it a recognisable symbol of the Kamakura and Enoshima regions.

©istock/ 7maru

In pop culture, the Enoden train often evokes a sense of nostalgia and romanticism. Its scenic route, passing through picturesque coastal landscapes and historic streets, has provided inspiration for artists, photographers, and writers. The train's association with the past and its timeless appeal have made it a subject of fascination and admiration. For example, in the basketball-themed anime "Slam Dunk" (1993-1996), there was a memorable scene where the main characters ride the Enoden train. The train is depicted as an iconic element of Kamakura, adding a touch of realism and local flavor to the story.  There's also "The Girl Who Leapt Through Time" (2006), a critically acclaimed anime film, where the Enoden train is shown prominently as part of the backdrop in various scenes. The train's presence contributes to the overall atmosphere and sense of nostalgia.

But beyond that, to show just how much the Enoden train is loved, it is even celebrated through local festivals and events. The Enoden Railway Festival, held annually, showcases the train's history and cultural significance. During the festival, the train is adorned with decorations, and special events take place along its route, attracting crowds of enthusiastic visitors (even those coming from Tokyo like me).

©istock/ oel-t

As the Enoden chugs along, it stops at various points of interest in Kamakura. Explore the iconic Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine, delve into the history of the Great Buddha at Kotoku-in Temple, or take a leisurely stroll through the vibrant Komachi-dori shopping street. Each stop promises unique experiences that add to the tapestry of Kamakura's charm. Upon arriving in Enoshima, the Enoden allows you to seamlessly transition to this idyllic island getaway. Step off the train and immerse yourself in the island's laid-back atmosphere. Take a leisurely walk through quaint streets, visit the Enoshima Shrine, and enjoy panoramic views from the Sea Candle Observation Tower.

I think what’s so special about the Enoden that’s really lost in most trains today is that it is not just a means of transportation… It is a source of memorable experiences. Whether it's the charming retro train passing through scenic spots or the enchanting landscapes that unfold outside your window, there’s a timeless appeal to this train. It serves as a gentle reminder of Japan's rich cultural heritage, allowing passengers to experience a taste of the past while enjoying the present. The warm smiles of fellow travellers and the cheerful chime of the train's bell create an atmosphere of joy and camaraderie.

©istock/ Nirad

So, if you're seeking a delightful and cheery adventure along the coast, hop aboard the Enoden train. Let its nostalgic charm and idyllic route transport you to a bygone era as you explore the treasures of Kamakura and Enoshima. The Enoden train holds a rich history deeply intertwined with the growth of tourism in Kamakura and Enoshima. Its iconic status in pop culture and its ability to evoke nostalgia and charm have made it a beloved symbol of the region. Riding the Enoden train not only offers a transportation experience but also provides a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the cultural heritage and scenic beauty of Japan! 

©istock/ gyro

If you want to experience Enoden train, it is a perfect pairing for a day trip or weekend getaway to Kamakura. There's tons of adorable accommodation in this coastal town, from guesthouse SHIBAFU that's only a few steps away from the beach or the cosy GOOD MORNING ZAIMOKUZA which is a B&B that gets wonderful sunsets. For those who want a stay that's right in the historical city centre of Kamakura, Guest House Irodori Kamakura makes for an authentic traditional accommodation. 

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