Just about an hour’s train ride to the south of Tokyo is a small island and seaside town in Kanagawa Prefecture known for its sweeping views of cliff and ocean, tropical charm, and laid-back California surfer vibe. It is said that the classic view of Mt. Fuji as depicted in many Japanese art is the view from Enoshima on a clear day, particularly in winter. Enoshima’s accessibility makes it a popular beach destination for Tokyo folks. Katase-Enoshima Station, which is the closest location to the main beaches and Enoshima Island, is only a 64 minute train ride along the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku, with an easy and convenient connection at Fujisawa.
If you share a love for marine life and wish to explore the exotic, then a trip to Enoshima Aquarium is a must. Discover the multitude of creatures that live in the Sagami Bay and the Pacific Ocean and appreciate the interconnectedness of life. Only a 3 minute walk from Katase-Enoshima Station, the aquarium is located right along the beach. The second floor’s welcome lounge with its generous ceiling-to-floor glass windows, and the nearby ocean deck are the perfect spots for breathtaking views of the beach, the surfers, and part of the island jutting out into the sea.
One of the best-rated and best-kept aquariums in Japan, Enoshima Aquarium consists of well thought-out exhibits that provide a magical experience to visitors. This season, visitors also have the chance to see the exhibits in a new way, with the Night Wonder Aquarium event that runs every evening from 5:00 to 8:00 pm.
Stairs lit with rainbow colors welcome you to the aquarium
This special event is only on until December 25th, 2016, and is worth staying later in the evening for. The illumination really accentuates the beauty of the underwater environment, transporting you to another world. The third and last phase of the event, going on now, has a Christmas theme. Is Santa Claus really a fish? You’ll have to visit and decide for yourself.
The suggested route leads visitors around the magnificently huge Sagami Bay tank. One can easily wile the time away watching the treasure trove of marine life on display.
Visitors can contemplate the school of sardines morphing into different shapes as they glide, and let gigantic manta rays swim above them as the tank goes partly overhead. One of the most stunning exhibits though is the jellyfish collection. These mystical creatures glide gracefully across specially lit tanks. Watching them can be a soothing and therapeutic experience.
One of the most popular shows at Enoshima Aquarium is Kurage no Sora, a mesmerizing collaborative show using special 3D projection mapping which makes visitors feel as if they’re floating in the ocean alongside the jellyfish. The Uogokoro show is a noteworthy underwater performance by staff divers who interact directly with the fishes in the big Sagami Bay tank.
Marine enthusiasts who would like to shake hands with the dolphins and touch sea turtles can do so for a fee.
Next, find out what secrets the darker depths of the ocean holds at the “Mystery of the Deep Sea” exhibit. Divided into two sections, this exhibit showcases research carried out jointly by Enoshima Aquarium and the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC).
The Shinkai 2000, a manned submersible that has contributed significantly to Japan’s deep-sea research, as lit up during the Night Wonder Aquarium
“Bridge to the Ocean” as lit during the Night Wonder Aquarium event
It is possible to see much of the aquarium and catch some of the shows in a couple hours, but for maximum enjoyment, allow 3-4 hours to explore it at a more leisurely pace. For families with kids, there is a craft room in the ground floor beside the turtle pools that provides free, quiet, air conditioned space away from crowds.
Finally, take a break at the aquarium’s Ocean Café and enjoy one of their special cocktails.
“Moonlight Christmas” cocktail, 700 yen
A General Admission ticket costs ¥2,100 for adults, ¥1,500 for senior high school students, ¥1,000 for junior high school and elementary students and ¥600 for children age 3 and up. There is no extra charge for the Night Wonder Aquarium event.
Address: 2-19-1 Katase Kaigan, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa Prefecture, 251-0035 Japan
For more information → http://www.odakyu.jp/english/destination/enoshima_kamakura/