Tokyo Day Trip: The Tulip Guide to Enoshima and Kamakura

Tokyo Day Trip: Kamakura Hase Temple

So you’ve been up and down the Skytree, shopped your heart out in Shinjuku, have an album of photos from the Shinjuku Gyoen in all four seasons, and are itching to discover a different side of Japan… buttttt hard-pressed for time. May we suggest a day-trip to the neighboring Kanagawa Prefecture with its gorgeous coastlines and unique slice of history? If so, read on for the low down to an easy-breezy inexpensive day trip to to the beautiful island town of Enoshima and the historic temple city of Kamakura!

Tokyo Day Trip: Eoshima Kamakura Enoden

1. Enoshima-Kamakura Free Pass

First things first, transport. We highly recommend purchasing the Odakyu Line Enoshima-Kamakura Free Pass. The one-day pass includes one round trip from your departure station to Fuijisawa, unlimited hop-on and offs on the Enoden Line between Fujisawa all the way to Kamakura, and discounts to a few attractions. The pass is available at the Odakyu Sightseeing Service Center in Shinjuku or at any Odakyu Line station ticket machines.

Enoshima-Kamakura Free Pass 江の島・鎌倉フリーパス
Price: 1,470 yen (From Shinjuku Station)
See here for a guide on how to buy from the ticket machines.

2. Katase Nishihama

ENoshima Kamakura Guide 1

Hop off at Katase-Enoshima Station and make your way over to the Katase Nishihama Beach for some of the closest beaches to Tokyo and an amazing, unobstructed view of Mount Fuji! Popular with surfers, the beach is also the scene of a number of parties in the warm summer months. From there, take a 20min walk across the ocean via the connecting bridge to Enoshima Island.

Katase Nishihama Beach 片瀬西浜
3 Chome Katasekaigan, Fujisawa, Kanagawa Prefecture 251-0035
〒251-0035 神奈川県藤沢市片瀬海岸3丁目

3. Enoshima Jinja

Tokyo Day Trip: Enoshima Jinja

Sitting on Enoshima Island is the Enoshima Jinja, one of the nation’s Three Great Shrines dedicated to the Benzaiten (弁才天) goddess of art and fortune. Legend has it that this particular Benten shared a love story with a five-headed dragon, hence the many dragons decked out on the grounds. The Enoshima Jinja is also home to three goddess and their respective shrines – Hetsunomiya, Nakatsunomiya, and Okutsunomiya (from lowest to highest). Psst! Tulip Tip: the stairs aren’t as daunting as they seem! Stretch your legs and save some cash by skipping the escalator and hiking up to the top. It’s a charming 15-20 min walk from the bottom shrine with lovely views of the island town and its coasts.

Enoshima Jinja 江ノ島神社
2-3-8 Enoshima, Fujisawa City, Kanagawa 251-0036
〒251-0036 神奈川県藤沢市江の島2丁目3番8号

4. Lovers’ Hill / Ryuren Bell of Love

Taking the trip with your significant other? Follow the signs off the main path and make your way over to the Lovers’ Bell. Ring the bell, make a wish, and attach your lock onto the fence with the many others to enjoy eternal love. Purchase a lock at the shops on the way to the entrance, or opt to bring your own! Singles, feel free to skip this attraction and head on over to the Iwaya Caves and Chigogafuchi Abyss.

Lover’s Hill / Ryuren Bell of Love 恋人の丘「龍恋の鐘」
2-5 Enoshima Ryunogaoka Natural Forest, Fujisawa City, Kanagawa 251-0036
〒251-0036 神奈川県藤沢市江の島2-5江の島龍野ヶ岡自然の森内

5. Iwaya Caves and Chigogafuchi Abyss

Nestled on the wesern end of Enoshima Island are the Iwaya Caves and the Chigogafuchi Abyss. Previous buddhist monk training ground in the Nara era, the Iwaya Caves consists of two natural caves-turned-shrines housing relics and statues from Enoshima’s past. While the caves are not much to write home about, the walkway to the caves overlooks the Chicgogafuchi Abyss, boasting gorgeous coastal views of crashing waves alongside a breathtaking view of Mt. Fuji. Heads up, the area is subject to very strong winds so we highly suggest extra precaution when climbing up and down the boulders to avoid being blown away!

Chigogafuchi Abyss 稚児ヶ淵
2-5-2 Enoshima, Fujisawa City, Kanagawa 251-0036
〒251-0036 神奈川県 藤沢市 江の島 2丁目5番2号

Tokyo Day Trip: The Great Buddha of Kamakura / Kamakura Daibutsu

6. The Great Buddha of Kamakura / Kamakura Daibutsu

Next up on the itinerary is Kamakura, oozing of traditional architecture with its many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines. And what’s a visit to Kamakura without paying respects to the iconic Kamakura Daibutsu (Great Buddha)! A designated kokuhō 国宝 or National Treasure culture heritage site, this particular Daibutsu is vying for a spot on UNESCO’S list of World Heritage Sites, making it a must-see for culture-lovers. To get there from Enoshima Island, walk or hop on a bus to Enoshima Station, take the Enoden Line heading towards Kamakura to Hase Station, and follow the signs for Kōtoku-in.

Kamakura Daibutsu 鎌倉大仏
4-2-28 Hase, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0016
〒248-0016 神奈川県鎌倉市長谷4丁目2番28号

Price: 200 yen entry and an additional 20 yen to get inside the Daibutsu.

7. Komachi Street / Komachidori

Beginning from the round-about outside of Kamakura Station, and leading right up to the Tsurugaoka Hachimangū is the Komachidori Street. Legend has it that it began as an outdoor market held in front of the shrine. Today, more than 250 restaurants, cafes, and boutiques selling traditional gifts and sweets line the bustling street. It’s the perfect place to do a spot of souvenir shopping enroute to our final destination at the Hachimangū!

Kamakura Komachidori 鎌倉 小町通り
Komachi, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-0006
〒248-0006 神奈川県鎌倉市小町

Tokyo Day Trip: Kamakura Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine

8. Tsurugaoka Hachimangū

The most proninent of Kamakura’s Shinto shrines, the Tsurugaoka Hachimangū is located both geographical and culturally in the city center.  After defeating rival Taira clan in 1180, Kamakura Shogunate founder Yoritomo Minamoto established Kamakura as the nation’s defacto capital and built the shrine as a tribute the Hachiman (八幡神), Japanese god of war and archery. Today, the shrine houses two ponds representing rival clans Minamoto and Taira (Tiny Trivia: the Taira pond has four islands, as “four” holds the same pronunciation as “death” in Japanese), a peony garden, and a small museum. It’s also among the nation’s most popular shrines for hatsumode (初詣), with record breaking visitor numbers of over two million!

Tsurugaoka Hachimangū 鶴岡八幡宮
2-1-31 Yukinoshita, Kamakura, Kanagawa 248-8588
〒248-8588 神奈川県鎌倉市雪ノ下2-1-31

Not up for a day trip or a lengthy train ride?  Check out our Ultimate Nakano Guide for a low key yet fun-filled afternoon right in the heart of suburban Tokyo!

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By: Lydia Hon

Tokyo’s Hidden Gems: Sangubashi’s Park Life

Sangubashi is a charming, hidden suburb nestled between the tourist hotspots of Shinjuku, Harajuku and Shibuya. Its great location has lead it to become a popular residential area with Japanese and non-Japanese alike. Judging by the flash cars crawling down the busy shopping street and tiny dogs in designer wear, you can guess that the local inhabitants are pretty well off.

If you’re looking for a place to live or just a short term visit, Sangubashi has overflowing appeal. These are our top picks for things to see, do and, most importantly, eat.

Yoyogi Park

The charms of living in Sangubashi are obvious from one quick look at the map. The giant, green blob that has gobbled up the whole area from Yoyogi to Shibuya is Yoyogi Park. Massively famous, this grassy sprawl offers a place for Tokyoites to just chill, while watching sparkling fountains in the summer sun. At the weekend you can be entertained by the street performers lining the path. Fashion hub Harajuku can be reached by a pleasant walk to the other side of the park.

 

Meiji Jingu

Although it is not Japan’s most eminent shrine, Meiji Jingu is arguably the most famous one, with most tourists at least making the effort to pop in. Coming in from the Harajuku entrance, visitors take the sudden plunge into a spiritual nature walk with towering trees blocking out any trace of the Youth-culture capital outside the shrine’s walls. Coming from Sangubashi you can take the little-known back entrance, avoiding the crowds… initially at least. If you’re feeling a bit run down, check out Kiyomasa’s Well, a ‘power spot’. Japanese people believe you can get a bit of extra energy from visiting such places. It’s worth a try right?

If all this sightseeing works up an appetite, hop over the road from the Sangubashi exit of Yogogi Park. Park Arms is an American style restaurant that sells all manner of hamburgers as well as formidably sized sandwiches. Even better than the food is the fact that dogs are welcome to sit in with their owners, so there’s plenty of cute pups to fawn over while waiting for your meal to arrive.

Teppanyaki Restaurant En

This restaurant seems to be always busy, the raucous laughter of merry-makers is audible from outside most evenings. If you’re in the mood for affordable slabs of okonomiyaki and monja-yaki with various toppings available you’re in luck, but we recommend you make a reservation in advance.

Two words: cheese naan. This Nepalese restaurant offers inexpensive set meals at any time of the day, choose your curry from an extensive list and it comes with salad and your choice of rice or naan. For a few extra yen you can make your naan cheese or garlic, and we really advise you to do so.

 

All-nighter

It’s not unusual to see unfortunate salary men who missed the last train home sleeping rough in an array of strange locations. Luckily, if you’re staying in Sangubashi you can party all night in Shinjuku, Harajuku or Shibuya and walk home. Or even jump in a taxi without breaking the bank. There’s all night arcades, karaoke, restaurants, the fun never ends. Shibuya has many 300 yen per drink establishments popular with locals as well as travellers. You can easily forget all about that last train, without ending up asleep on a park bench.

 

Want to live in or visit Sangubashi? We have a share house there that also accepts short terms stays through AirBnB.

Tokyo’s Hidden Gems: Nerima’s Suburban Attractions

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Nerima has a reputation for being a bit relaxed (read boring), but there’s actually plenty of little-known attractions for an easy-going day out around Nerima station. If you’re looking for somewhere to live, this convenient and cheap residential area is perfect for commuting to areas such as Ikebukuro, Shinjuku or Roppongi.

(Extra info about prices and locations of the attractions will be at the bottom of this blog!)

Walking through the unassuming suburbs there’s no way that you would guess there’s a theme park awaiting you around the corner. True, it’s not exactly Fuji Q Highland, but there’s charm in this old amusement park yet. The wooden merry-go-round of Toshimaen theme park is a designated important cultural property.

But thrill-seekers never fear. Once July rolls around the water park is open, with plenty of scary water slides to get that adrenaline rush, and a beautiful night pool where you can float under the summer stars.

Nature lovers will also be happy to know that surrounding the amusement park are beautiful gardens designed by the famous Japanese landscape architect, Kenzo Kosugi. They were designed specifically so that every season would give a different look. The best way to enjoy these gardens, is a dip in the Niwa no Yu onsen (public bath) next door. The outdoor baths give a gorgeous view. There are even co-ed saunas where you can hang out with your partner or guy friends (in bathing suits of course!).

Get ready die-hard mountain fans, because Nerima City Hall offers a view of Mount Fuji for free. But definitely check the forecast before going as it can only be seen on clear days.

You can also catch a movie at the United Cinemas cinema complex by Toshimaen station. Wednesday is ladies day meaning you can see all the latest flicks for a very affordable 1100 yen.

Pig Plus is one of the best restaurants in Nerima for sure. Nerima was a farming area back in the Edo period and nowadays there’s still plenty of farms on the outskirts. This restaurant uses only Nerima produce for its celebrated dishes. They even do take-out if you feel like taking a full rotisserie chicken home. No judgement here.

 

Toshimaen Theme Park
Price- Amusement pass – 4200 yen for adult, 3200 for child (Entrance only pass 1000 yen for adult, 500 yen for children)
Location- 1 minute walk from Toshimaen station
Opening Hours- Varies according to season (guests with tattoos may not enter the park)

Niwa no Yu
Price- Standard ticket 2310 yen, Night Spa ticket 1295 yen (No children allowed)
Location- 1 minute walk from Toshimaen station
Opening Hours- 10 am to 11 pm every day (Night Spa is not open during New Year, Obon Festival or Golden Week)

Nerima City Hall
Price- Free
Location- 5 minute walk from Nerima station
Opening Hours- 8.30 am to 5 pm on weekdays, closed for New Year

United Cinemas
Price- 1800 yen (Ladies Day 1100 yen every wednesday, Late Show 1300 yen every night after 8pm
Location- 1 minute walk from Toshimaen station
Opening Hours- Movie schedule

Pig Plus
Price- Menu
Location- 1 minute walk from Nerima station
Opening Hours-  13 seconds past 5 in the evening (I don’t get it either) until the early hours

Newly Opening!!! – Witt-style Roppongi Share House

Located only a 10 minute walk from Roppongi station, but nestled in the leafy suburbs you won’t even realise that you’re just a stone’s throw from one of Tokyo’s party capitals. Roppongi is also known for its high-end shopping malls with beautiful surrounding areas, such as Roppongi Hills and Tokyo Midtown. Tokyo Midtown especially runs many free events such as illuminations and park yoga, it’s impossible to be bored in this exciting part of town.

The house’s location is incredibly convenient; only 5 minutes from Roppongi Itchome station serviced by the Namboku line and 10 minutes from Roppongi station for the Oedo and Hibiya lines. A 24 hour convenience store is less than a minute away, just around the corner.

Newly renovated, the house’s furnishings are all brand new. The kitchen has patio doors leading out to the balcony giving the room heaps of sunlight. The palette has been kept neutral giving a fresh feeling to this shared living space. There is free wifi in all areas.

The deposit for any room in the house is 30,000 yen. No hidden fees at all!

Private rooms:

All private rooms come with a TV socket and are decorated individually.

Room 1 (1F) – RESERVED

Room 2 (1F) – 79,000 yen (+13,000 yen utility fee)

Room 3 (2F) – 76,000 yen (+13,000 yen utility fee)

Room 4 (2F) – 79,000 yen (+13,000 yen utility fee)

Room 5 (2F) – 77,000 yen (+13,000 yen utility fee) – RESERVED

Room 6 (2F) – 75,000 yen (+13,000 yen utility fee) – RESERVED

Room 7 (2F) – 74,000 yen (+13,000 yen utility fee) – RESERVED

Dormitories:

These dormitories are actually semi-private rooms with curtains instead of doors. In the house’s peaceful atmosphere you shouldn’t be disturbed by your neighbour at all and the curtain provides complete privacy. There is an indoor drying room just for use by dormitory residents so you can hang up your washing rain or shine.

Dormitory 1 (1F) – RESERVED

Dormitory 2 (1F) – RESERVED

Dormitory 3 (1F) – 48,000 yen (+13,000 yen utility fee) – RESERVED

Dormitory 4 (1F) – RESERVED

Indoor drying room

Only the entrance is curtained making the space very private.

The house’s maximum capacity is 11 people. Shared facilities are:

1 shower

1 bath

2 toilets

2 sinks

1 kitchen/living area

2 washing machines (free) and 1 clothes dryer (coin operated)

Now open for viewings so make an inquiry now! Moving in will be possible later this month!

Tulip Real Estate:

Phone: 03-6914-7366
Fax: 03-6914-7376
Email: contact@tulip-e.com
Website (inquiries can be sent straight from here)
Facebook (Go ahead and message us!)

Cup Noodle Inspiration in Yokohama

The Cup Noodle Museum is a committed monument to the history of instant ramen and the perfect excuse to spend the day in Yokohama this summer!

I took a day trip with my friends to learn exactly how such a culinary miracle became commonplace in Japan.

As we left the Minato Mirai train station, we planned to head straight to the museum. However we were instantly knocked back by the sheer sparkling beauty of Yokohama on a sunny day and were sadly delayed at least half an hour due to unavoidable photo opportunities. Compared to cramped Tokyo where everything is piled on top of each other, you do feel the difference. Yokohama feels open-air, with wide spaces and low buildings.

Although on the surface it seems like a classic ‘crazy’ Japan thing, the museum itself was surprisingly inspiring and definitely doesn’t take itself too seriously. The main take away message of the museum is not as you may think, cup noodles are tasty (they are of course) but ‘never give up’, since the inventor of instant ramen went through several failed businesses before he struck noodly gold.

The definite highlight is the make your own custom cup noodles section of the museum, which consists of drawing on the cup, then getting embarrassed about your pathetic art skills. (There was a young woman in front of us who had drawn a gorgeous full colour cherry blossom design. I had scrawled Yokohama 2017 on mine.) You then join a Wallace and Gromit-esque production line in which the staff make the cup ramen of your dreams! Well… limited to to 3 toppings… of your dreams!

Our cup noodles perfected, we then hopped over the road to Cosmo World. A little theme park which is surrounded by glistening sea. There’s no entrance fee as you pay per ride. The many roaming teenagers in uniforms gave us school trip vibes as we giddily waited to get on the one ride that actually looked a bit scary. It was pretty good and totally worth the 700 yen ticket!

We then headed to Yokohama’s famous China Town. Not only do you save money by walking instead of taking the subway, it gives you more of a chance to get a feeling for the area. We were even more convinced of how wide open and clean Yokohama is.

China Town was lively and colourful and as someone who has never been to China, I wondered how close it was to the real thing. But according to my friends who have visited China, this was much, much more orderly.

CHINA!

The place was awash with delicious street food smells and we treated ourselves to a few free samples before settling on some dumplings. They were amazing and reasonably priced at 500 yen for a 4 dumpling selection.

We really felt like we’d escaped Tokyo on a mid-week getaway. But we were back in Shibuya in just 40 minutes and our IC cards only took a hit of 960 yen round trip. Not bad if you consider the priceless life lesson we learned;

Cup noodles are tasty.

Only joking! It’s never give up!

 

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Day Trip to Hakone with the Hakone Freepass

Thinking about a little getaway from Tokyo but don’t have the time for a full-on vacation? Take a day trip to Hakone by the Odakyu Limited Express “Romance car” – only about an hour and half away from Shinjuku Station! On the train ride there, you’ll see some stunning scenery and even get an amazing view of Mount Fuji. The ride doesn’t feel complete without stocking up on snacks and bento!

If you want to make it a weekend adventure or end up wanting to stay longer, try out the Hakone Freepass which allows you to get on and off freely throughout Hakone and even provides discount admission to some of the famous spots in the area! With this pass, you can freely explore and enjoy the most out of Hakone. Valid for 2-3 days.

There are many sites that make Hakone a must-see area for foreigners and Japanese natives. After taking the cable car up, we visited the Owakudani Volcano – popular for it’s scenic views, epic volcanic activity, and of course, hot springs!

But what visitors seemed to be most interested in was the Owakudani black egg, a local specialty of eggs hard-boiled in the hot spring. This turns the egg’s shell black and it is said that if you eat one, your life span extends 7 years. I ate so many black eggs that I think I might be immortal now.

A few stops before the volcano is Hakone’s Open-Air Sculpture Museum, where you can see dynamic masterpieces out in the wild! It was such a unique experience to see such modern, colorful, and amazingly crafted artwork in nature.

Going back down by cable car leads to Lake Ashi, where we saw a few cruise ships and decided to hop on. The scenery was incredible and you can see temples, shrines, and old hotels scattered out in-between the mountains.

All that sailing works up an appetite so we decided to explore the town and find a bite to eat. The overall atmosphere of the local area was like being in a relaxed beach town in Japan’s olden days. We found a soba shop near the dock and it was deliciously home-made, it felt like being in a traditional home for dinner time.

We wandered the area and found the Hakone Shrine and enjoyed the slow atmosphere of the town. Many pay visits to this shrine because it is known to bring good luck, business, and marriage. Standing below this unique Torii was just amazing.

The shrine is hidden in a dense forest and was favored by samurai families. The shrine is also known as the “Kuzuryu” (Nine-headed dragon) shrine, the legend is that the diety calmed the raging dragon god of Lake Ashi.

As day turned to dusk, seeing the sun set through the trees on the ropeway ride back was like a dream.

Even just spending the day here, we were able experience so many historic sites and take in the natural wonders of Hakone. Wish we could have stayed longer but since its only a train ride away, we’ll definitely be back.

Tokyo on a Budget: Dormitory Life in a Tulip Share House

When you think of dormitories what do you imagine? Metal frame bunkbeds in a questionable, overcrowded hostel? Loud travellers coming back at all hours? No privacy? No storage space? Unsafe?

Tulip Real Estate provides dormitories that ensure privacy, your own storage space, safety and cleanliness. Rather than a traditional dormitory, they are like your own compact room. Some even contain your own fridge and air conditioner. They are usually separated from the common area with a blackout curtain, but some actually have a normal door that you can lock.

You can retain the sense of community associated with living in a dormitory and make friends easily, without having to lose any privacy. It is perfectly possible to live comfortably in them for months or even years as many of our residents are currently doing!

But the best part of Tulip’s dormitories is the rent cost! Moving to Tokyo usually means living on a budget. By living in a Tulip dormitory you can stay in the heart of Tokyo without breaking the bank. Our cheapest start at just 37,000 yen per month and the most expensive is 52,000 yen. (This includes all utility costs and free WiFi!)

Here are some examples of houses with dormitories:

Witt-style Jingu

How much would you pay to live a 5 minute walk from the famous Yoyogi Park? Believe it or not, you can live in this upmarket area for under 50,000 yen per month including all bills. Witt-style Jingu’s dormitories are like your own compact room. Shinjuku, Shibuya and Harajuku are all accessible by walking or cycling and the house has free bicycle parking!

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Dormitories in Witt-style Jingu include:

✓Fridge
✓Table
✓Clothes rail
✓Air conditioner (shared or your own depending on room)
✓Window (depending on room)
✓Door with lock/blackout curtain
✓Safety box (only rooms with curtain)

(Monthly inclusive rent: 48,900 – 51,900 yen)

 

Witt-style Peppermint

Live in beautiful, traditional Asakusa for as little as 43,000 yen per month. The house is perfectly located, far away enough from the tourists to be peaceful but still only a stone’s throw away from the bustling Senso-ji temple. Ueno is just a 20 minute walk away! These are the biggest dormitories of any of our houses and are stylishly decorated.

Dormitories in Witt-style Peppermint include:

✓Fridge
✓Table
✓Air conditioner (shared)
✓Window (depending on room)
✓Safety box
✓Blackout curtain over entrance ensuring full privacy

(Monthly inclusive rent: 43,000 – 48,000 yen)

 

Happy House Vitamin Color

This super affordable house is located just a 15 minute walk away from the Japanese pop culture haven, Nakano Broadway. A direct train from the nearest station gets you to Shinjuku in 15 minutes, meaning great access for women who work or study in that area. The dormitories in this house are inspired by Japanese capsule hotels; private sleeping spaces are in a row with one on top of the other. Although the space is small, it still comes with a table and some bedside storage. But don’t worry, there is extra storage designated for tenants outside of the sleeping space as well! A great, cheaper alternative to hostels, these dormitories can even be booked through our Airbnb page for 2 week stays and above!

Dormitories in Happy House Vitamin Color include:

✓Air conditioner (shared)
✓Window (depending on room)
✓Table
✓Small bedside storage
✓Large clothes rack and storage space
✓Safety box

(Monthly inclusive rent: 37,000 – 40,000 yen)

If you are interested in any of these houses an inquiry can be sent straight from our website! You can also browse for more options, including private rooms.

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