Japanese coastline is something very special, though the sand, the smell of seaweed, yachts and surfing seem to be the same as everywhere. See it for yourself, escaping from the city to the seaside. Some fifty km away from Tokyo and you will spend the day exploring the Pacific beaches from a small Enoshima Island to the industrial embankment of Tokyo Bay in Yokohama. Don’t forget a swimsuit and sunscreen.
Katase-Enoshima is a departure point for many southern routes. You can take Romancecar Enoshima express from Odakyu-Enoshima (Odakyu) to get here from Shinjuku or take a regular cheaper train. Better sit at the head to be closer to the exit. The station is designed in Chinese style – the wooden red-painted building. Better get in the head car – you'll get off closer to the exit that way.
Eggs N Things
Eggs N Things is the best breakfast spot in Tokyo. They make the best pancakes in town (it is a rare find in Tokyo) and no matter what the weather is, there is always a line to get this yummy treat. However, early mornings the place is empty. If you're fed up with Japanese rice-breakfast, you will love their menu – maple syrup pancakes, veggie scrambled eggs and huge mugs of coffee. Too American but delicious. If you still see a line, ask to eat outside, as locals somehow love eating indoors. Keep track of the time – you can sit here forever, as the atmosphere is so relaxing.
This small offshore island is located some 50 km of Tokyo and has lots to offer: make a wish in one of its plenty temples, walk along volcanic beach and watch the waves breaking, enjoy the view from an observation deck and have chirashi don – rice with baby sardines – for lunch in a restaurant at the edge of the cliff overlooking the Pacific. A bikini and a sunscreen is a must- carry.
Enoden line (Enoshima Electric railway)
Local trains running from Fujisava to Kamakura look like old trams and retro wooden cars give the right feeling of being neither here nor now. The road stretches along the ocean, so take a window sit to enjoy the views of Enoshima Island, a lighthouse, Fuji-San, sparking ocean waves, beaches and hydrangea is blossom if it’s May and June. By the way, you can walk from Enoshima to Kamakura along the beach and it'll take you about 2 hours.
Guidebooks praise Tokyo beaches, but in fact, the place attracts surfers and wind-surfers, so it's not so comfortable for swimming. However, perfect lawns between the cliffs compensate for this: chill out with your bento and relax. There is also a WC there.
This almost-beach restaurant has a stunning sea view and affordable delicious food. Quite nice lunch option. Order Shirasu Donburi – rice with baby sardines that look so transparent and white. It's yummy but spooky – as if you are a whale gulping plankton. This dish is local specialty as Enoshima is the sardine spot. The fish is always super fresh.
Kamakura Museum of Literature
You have to be really fond of Japanese mid-20th century writers to come here for the sake of museum alone. If you do love Natsume Soseki or Yasunari Kawabata, go inside but if you're not into their works walk along the Museum's major gem – a beautiful rose garden, park and admire the building – a splendid mansion once owned by the noble Maeda family. You can play hide-and-seek among high rose bushes and if you stand by the porch you will get a so-English view of the Pacific through the pink-and-yellow mist of the flowers. The scent is nice and not heavy at all. May and June are the blossom season.
Yokohama is Japan's second largest city and its embankment is one of a few Kanto spots (the region comprising Tokyo, Yokohama, Saitama and Chiba) where you can get to the Bay and not find yourself in an industrial port. In the 19th century, Yokohama was still a tiny village but in the 1950s, the landing of US troops drastically changed the landscape. Since then, its architecture is somewhat alien while museums and parks have much to showcase.
When you exit Sakuragicho or Кannai, it's hard to imagine that the sea is in a ten-minute walk. Wait a couple of moments and high-rise landscape will be replaced with a beautiful urban view on the sea. To the left, you'll have Minatomirai skyscrapers and industrial port cranes to the right. The center was constructed in the early 20th century, so architecture is surprisingly empire and eclectic. Passing the Three Towers – The King (Prefecture Office), the Queen (Customs Building) and the Jack (the Memorial Museum) we are going to the sea.
Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse
Warehouses are easy to spot and find from anywhere at the embankment, so you will not get lost. These red-brick giants look impressive and remind of constructivist style factories of the early 20th century or cathedrals from Diablo II video game. Now they are taken by designer boutiques – explore them for some nice little nothings, like colorful mismatching socks in Little Missmatched or handmade jewelry. You can also visit a cushion bar to have a customized cushion made especially for you and lunch in lovely fish restaurants, which are plenty here. Go back to the sea and watch the huge white liners go further and further away.
Tea ceremony is a long process so you can drink Japanese tea in an ordinary environment, like Chano-ma (loose translation is tea space or tea break). You can find it in warehouse 2 on the third floor. The owners are trying to stage the tea ceremony of the new millennium – relaxed music and home atmosphere. They always have relaxing music here and cozy homelike atmosphere.
This passenger terminal of Yokohama is a pier, a ship and a bridge – all in one. It has been rebuilt many times and now you will walk along the version 2002 by Alejandro Zaera-Polo who is famous for his pragmatic and strict technicality. Now, the facility reminds of an aircraft-carrier, though a peaceful one. It's a good spot to have a look at the entire embankment up to the Minatomirai skyscrapers, but the best view is on the Tokyo towers and Fuji at sunset.
In Shanghai Yoen you will taste Shanghai cuisine. Interiors are very Japanese – red and gold – they think it makes for a good appetite. The menu is easy to handle as it has pictures. Local specialty is crab and ryutsusumi – reminds dumplings. The chef used to work in Chinese Embassy and is very proud of it.