The award winning winter illumination event Jewel of Shonan or Shonan no Hoseki is an annual event that attracts numerous visitors every year to the small peninsula near Tokyo. The illumination events is famed for its beautiful sceneries created by the mixture of thousands of sparkling lights and the tourist attractions on Enoshima island. Enoshima is a small island about one hour south of Tokyo, a popular day trip in summer, but due to the illumination event also great to visit in winter. After sunset, thousands of colorful lights, illuminate different parts of the island and bring you into the festive mood. Here is a quick run down of the event and how to enjoy it best!
1. Enoshima Island
The iconic winter illumination event Shonan no Hoseki Winter is held from November to March every year since 1999. The main venue is Enoshima (江の島), a small, rocky island located a short train ride west of Kamakura in Kanagawa Prefecture. The beautiful island is connected to the mainland by bridge and is popular as a day trip from Tokyo because of the easy access.
Enoshima Island and Enoshima Beach, located on the mainland, attract large crowds especially during summer season with stunning ocean views, sightseeing attractions and a number of surfing and other watersport spots. The weather conditions are outstanding here and for this reason Enoshima has been chosen as the Olympic venue for some sport events like the sailing competition. On a clear day you can even greet Mount Fuji in a far distance from Enoshima. Of course, the location near the sea also ensures the availability of high quality seafood and the area offers some great local specialties featuring fresh seafood like shirase, the small whitebait.
2. The Jewel of Shonan
Each year, Enoshima Island is colored with award winning, outstanding large-scale illumination art installations. It is one of the three greatest illumination nationwide, with stunning nighttime illuminations around the island. In 2022, Shonan no Hoseki (Jewel of Shonan, 湘南の宝石) Winter Illumination will be celebrating its 22th anniversary.
Event information 2021*
November 21, 2020 – March 7, 2021
5pm – 8pm (Weekdays & New Year’s Holiday)
5pm – 9pm (Weekends & Dec. 23 – 30)
*dates for 2022 will be updated as soon as announced
- Enoshima area (江ノ島エリア)
- Katase Coast area (片瀬海岸エリア)
There is no admission ticket to be purchased to access the event, but a ticket to the gardens (¥200) and for observation tower (¥300) are required.
2. How to get to Enoshima Island
There are several ways to get to Enoshima, depending on where your trip starts:
To Enoshima from Tokyo
Taking either the Odakyu Odawara Line or the JR train is the easiest and fastest way to reach Enoshima area from central Tokyo. Take the train to Fujisawa Station where you need to transfer to the Enoshima Line that will take you to Katase-Enoshima Station in a few minutes. From there Enoshima is a 15 minute walk.
To Enoshima from Yokohama Station
Yokohama is the second biggest city in Japan and also the prefectural capital of Kanagawa prefecture. Yokohama is a port city home to some amazing must visits including beautiful gardens, large Chinatown and interactive museum. You can take the JR Train from Yokohama Station to Fujisawa Station. From Fujisawa Station, proceed as described above.
Yokohama – Enoshima: 40 min, ¥680
Travel tips Enoshima
If you are planning on taking the Odakyu Odawara Line, make sure to check Enoshima-Kamakura Free Pass! It is a convenient combo ticket that includes:
- Round-trip fare from Shinjuku Station to Fujisawa Station
- Unlimited rides for one day on Enoden and Enoshima Line
There is also an Enopass available, a combi-tickets that includes admissions to Enoshima’s main attractions (Samuel Cocking Garden, Sea Candle, Iwaya caves) as well as the use of the escalators. The ticket costs ¥1,000 and is available at the tourist desk and the escalator ticket office.
3. Highlights of Enoshima Winter Illumination
During Shonan no Hoseki, one of Japan’s most amazing winter illumination events, the entire island of Enoshima is filled with glittering illuminations and bright light displays that put the island in a festive atmosphere after sunset. You can explore the famous tourist attractions on the island that are illuminated by the magical lights with different designs and features. Here are highlights of the popular illumination event.
Enoshima Sea Candle 江の島シーキャンドル
Enoshima Sea Candle is a 60 m tall landmark on Enoshima Island that offers a panoramic view from the glass-walled observation deck. Views of Mount Fuji can be enjoyed on days with good visibility and at night the many stained glass objects hanging from the trees and lights connected to the tower create a mysterious atmosphere.
Tunnel of Crystal & Shonan Chandelier
Shonan Chandelier fascinates visitors with the incredible scenery created by a tunnel of thousands of lights and a giant chandelier made with Swarovski crystals! The Tunnel of Crystal is one of the most popular attractions each year. Walk through the sparkling light tunnel and feel the romantic atmosphere.
Hoseki Forest is held at Enoshima Samuel Cocking Garden, a beautiful botanical garden which was originally established by the British merchant Samuel Cocking. The design displays a mixture of Japanese and Western styles, creating a unique landscape with seasonal plants and flowers, beautiful all year round. During the illumination event, the entire garden is transformed into a mystical world completely covered with lights! Explore the scenic garden filled with a variety of light decorations while admiring tropical plants and winter tulips.
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Visit Shonan no Hoseki Winter Illumination and you will be able to spend some memorable time with your family or friends. Since the most part of the event is enjoyable outside, it also helps you stay safe with less exposure to enclosed space with crowds. Not only the illumination event, Enoshima itself is also a perfect day trip destination from Tokyo that can be explored in a day. Get away from the bustles of the Tokyo city life and let yourself unwind in the scenic island offering a range of activities and memorable experiences!
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