Shonan Area: 10 Best Things to Do in 2020
Shonan Area Guide 2020: Best Things to Do in Shonan Area Beach Towns
For those who love ocean, beaches and a relaxing atmosphere, Shonan area is definitely the place to be! Japan’s most laidback, stylish and cool surfer’s paradise which deserves to be called the California of Japan 🙂
Shonan (湘南) is located south-west Kanagawa prefecture which is approx 1 hour away from central Tokyo. Shonan area is basically a seaside region of Sagami Bay from Enoshima to Oiso. There are numbers of beaches on its coast line and it’s where all ocean lovers gather to enjoy their seaside life.
The area is mostly known for marine activities such as surfing, SUP, fishing, etc. Many locals play marine sports all year around and there are numbers of shops offer rental facilities if you wish to try.
During summer, the area gets really busy as many visitors come to hit the beaches from outside of the area. Numbers of beach shacks are lined on the beach where visitors can enjoy food, drinks and music. If you wish to avoid crowds, there are numbers of quiet beaches where only locals go, and stylish and fashionable cafes, restaurants and shops where you can chill out.
Shonan area is situated along Kamakura area, which is a popular side trip destination from Tokyo, known as the Kyoto of East. So let’s check out best highlights of Shonan area!
Enoshima is a small touristic island, connected with the mainland by the bridge. The island offers a variety of attractions including a shrine, park, observation tower and many shops&restaurants. Also it’s a great place to view Mt. Fuji when it’s good visibility. There is also a beach off the island, which gets very crowded during summer, offering a large number of beach shacks and loud music.
Enoshima Aquarium is a large aquarium near Enoshima island. It has 12 different section with over 500 different fish and species, including the dolphin pool where a dolphin show takes and the beautiful Jelly Fish exhibition which is extremely popular from visitors.
Enoden (Enoshima Dentetsu) is a local railway which runs between Fujisawa Station and Kamakura Station passing through the neighbourhood and by the coastline. It’s a small local train but now popular as a tourist attraction for the scenic train route. It’s highly recommended for sightseeing in Kamakura and Enoshima area as you can hop on and off when you buy an economical one day pass.
4. Mt. Fuji
The best thing about beaches in Shonan is the great view of Mt.Fuji. If you are into photography, it’s highly recommended to visit during winter when the visibility is much higher.
5. Route 134
The great coast line road Route 134, which connects Yokosuka and Oiso City is one of the best roads to drive in Japan. Enjoy driving with the ocean breeze, and there are numbers of stylish cafes and restaurants to stop by.
6. Kugenuma Beach
The popular beach in Shonan area, especially among surfers. It’s also pretty busy during summer, but slightly less crowded than Enoshima beach. Kugenuma Beach has surprisingly easy access from Tokyo, with the direct train available from Shinjuku Station (Odakyu line).
7. Chigasaki Beach
The west-end of Shonan area, Chigasaki Beach has much more local atmosphere than other beach, which is perfect for couples ad families. The beach has several small beach shacks, and the great view of Mt.Fuji can be enjoyed.
8. Eat Whitebait
What to eat when in Shonan?? Because it’s a seaside region, you can enjoy fresh local seafood products with inexpensive price. Whitebaits “Shirasu” is the most significant seafood dishes in Shonan Area and there are many restaurant serving it. But note that they don’t serve them when it’s poor catch.
9. Get on Board!
The most popular activity among locals in Shonan area is surfing. There are numbers of surf shops where you can shop or rent surfing facilities. Besides, there are several other marine common in Shonan spots including one of the most trendy sports today SUP (Stand-Up Paddle Board).
10. Fireworks Festivals
One of most attractive things to see in summer time in Japan is fireworks. Fireworks festivals are held across the country and several in Shonan area. As fireworks festivals are set by the sea in Shonan area, the spectacular view of fireworks dazzling on the ocean can be enjoyed. Here are schedules of some of fireworks held in Shonan area in last year.
Kamakura: 10 July 2019
Oiso: 27 July 2019
Chigasaki: 10 August 2019
Fujisawa: TBA (21 August 2018)
Hiratsuka: 23 August 2019
If you are wondering what to do in Kanagawa, check this article below!
▶︎Top Things to Do in Kanagawa
Shonan area is located very close to Kamakura City! If you need more information about its neighbourhood, please check out these articles!
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