5 Things You Must Do When Visiting Shonan Beach, Kanagawa!
Shonan is a region in the Southern part of Kanagawa Prefecture, which most of the land is located on the Sagami Bay. Shonan covers the cities of Miura, Fujisawa, Chigasaki, and Kamakura. Shonan also covers many attractive beaches in Fujisawa and Kamakura as well, and is also very famous as a wonderful spot for marine sports in Kanto region.
Shonan is a fun place to explore, and today I’d like to recommend five things that you must do in Shonan based on my experience in visiting the area!
Title Photo: The Beach in Hayama, Image Source: Writer’s Private Collection
1. Visit Enoshima Aquarium!
Compare to other aquarium in Japan, Enoshima Aquarium is not that big, but it has one of the most beautiful jellyfish collections in Japan. Enoshima Aquarium displays many sea creatures taken directly from Sagami Bay and the Pacific Ocean, and the aquarium is divided into 12 zones. It takes at least 2 hours for you to explore this aquarium. The best parts of this aquarium are the Jellyfish Fantasy Hall and the Jellyfish Magic, as you can see many glowing jellyfish swimming slowly around the fish tanks!
2. Eat Shirasu Bowl!
Shonan is famous for its delicious Shirasu Bowl (しらす丼, Shirasudon), and you should definitely try eating the Shirasu Bowl when visiting Shonan. Shirasu is a general term for juvenile sardines in Japan, and Shirasu Bowl is a rice dish served with shirasu toppings on it.
There are two different types of Shirasu Bowl, which are Nama Shirasudon (Raw Shirasu Bowl) and Kamaage Shirasudon (Boiled Shirasu Bowl). Raw Shirasu Bowl has chewy texture and deep flavor, and Boiled Shirasu Bowl has fluffy texture and refined flavor. Shirasu is in season from April to December, and there are many restaurants in Enoshima, Kamakura, and Fujisawa serving Shirasu Bowl.
Raw Shirasu Bowl uses the fresh caught shirasu only, so depending on the weather, you might not be able to have Raw Shirasu Bowl as well!
3. Visit SE1 For Its Delicious Gelato!
Gelato at SE1, Image Source: Tabelog
SE1 (エスイーワン in Japanese) is a small coffee shop in Enoshima that sells high quality coffee, homemade gelato, pizza, and fish and chips. I went to SE1 for the first time when I visited Shonan last time, and I really loved the taste and the texture of the gelato! I tried the mango gelato and I really liked it so much as it was very fruitful and was not too sweet for me. The price of the gelato was not too expensive either, as you can get the single flavor for JPY 400 and the double flavors for JPY 500 only! SE1 also offers wide varieties of panini as well. Perfect for brunch or late lunch, don’t forget to stop by SE1 when you’re in Enoshima!
The Market SE1
1-6-6 Katasekaigan, Fujisawa-shi, Kanagawa
Business Hours: 11:00-18:00
Access: Within 3-minute walk from Enoshima Station
4. Go To The Beach!
There are a lot of beaches in Shonan, and the beaches are always packed in the summer. If you love marine sports and would like to try SUP, then you should visit the beaches in Zushi and Kamakura area. If you love surfing and bodyboarding, then you should visit the beaches in Chigasaki area. If you love diving, you should go to the beaches in Hayama as the wave is not as big as other beaches. If you want to have fun by the beach, like playing beach ball, swimming, and sunbathing, then you should visit Enoshima for its great atmosphere. If you don’t like crowded beaches, try to visit Hayama in the afternoon. I personally love Hayama for its romantic atmosphere and great view of the ocean and the mountains!
5. See The Sunset!
You should visit one of the beaches in Shonan to enjoy the romantic atmosphere while watching the sun goes down. The sunset is pretty early during the winter, so you should visit the beach around 17:30 to find a great spot to watch the sunset. On the other hand, the sunset is pretty late during the summer; it is usually after 18:00, but try to reach the beach around 16:00 to find your spot for sunset as it can be very crowded during the summer. The sunset at Enoshima is very beautiful, but I personally love the sunset at Hayama for its romantic and calming atmosphere!
Shonan is a great place to explore for its great collections of sightseeing spots and wonderful local food. You can reach Shonan easily from Tokyo by train: Get on the Odakyu Line from Shinjuku Station to reach Enoshima, and get on the Shonan Shinjuku Line to visit other areas of Shonan. If you have an international driving license, try to rent a car and drive along the Sagami Bay and enjoy watching the beautiful view of the ocean as well! The highway traffic in the summer is very bad, so try to drive by the Sagami Bay in late winter or early spring!