"I’ve always wanted to live closer to Tokyo; so when I got a job offer in Kanagawa, I grabbed it right away. I moved here in September 2013, but my family has been living in Kansai since 2009." My feature for Cebu Pacific Smile Magazine was released! Say hello to #AshleyJune2014 and read my article here.
Your guide: Ashley Dy
Works as: A teacher and blogger
Lives in: Fujisawa City in Kanagawa Prefecture, 50 minutes away from Tokyo via JR train
Why am I living in Japan? "I just knew that Kanagawa was full of greens and blues. It’s very convenient: if I want to visit the beach or the mountains, I could. During the first few months, I was always in Harajuku, Tokyo and other fun places. I now teach; but since I can’t give up my blog and interest in fashion, I am my own photographer, creative director and model at candykawaiilover.blogspot.jp. I’ve never been happier."
Do not forget to get some special zakka (handmade goods)!
And eat some special siopao!
I’ve always been attracted to places with soul; it makes me feel like I belong somehow. This made me love Kanagawa. It’s practical too – I’m only 25 minutes away from the elegance of Kamakura, 19 minutes away from the sea and island of Enoshima, about an hour away from Tokyo, and an hour-and-a-half away from Mount Fuji.
If you enjoy a fast pace and want to maximize your trip by going to as many places as possible, get a Kamakura-Enoshima Day Pass for only ¥700. It is available at the Ofuna or Fujisawa Station JR ticket office, and entitles you to unlimited train rides in the Kamakura/Enoshima area. But if you want to go slow, take your time and be carefree, you can always rent a bike and follow your own time. Follow the rules. It’s bad to pick flowers and fruits. It would be tempting since during Spring, you'll see lots of unusual plants, flowers and fruits that you won’t usually see in a tropical country. But in Japan, it’s an absolute no-no.
Visiting Enoshima is kind of tiring since you have to climb up the stairs to get to the attractions. But don’t fret – there is a paid escalator to the Enoshima-jinja Shrine, Samuel Cocking Garden, Sea Candle lighthouse and observatory, and Iwaya Caves. Since Enoshima Beach is relatively calm, it’s been a beginner surfer’s paradise for many. You can also go windsurfing, boating and kayaking here. A specialty in Enoshima? Shonan Burger with their Shirasu (small fish) burger and Shirasu siopao.
My favourite place in Kamakura!
If you need to escape from Tokyo but can’t go as far as Kyoto, drop by Kamakura – it features mountains, the sea and Japanese temples. My favourite is the Hokoku-ji Temple or Take-dera (bamboo temple). Take bus numbers 23, 24 or 36 and get off at Jomyo-ji for ¥200. It’s only a three-minute walk away from the bus stop. Entrance to the temple costs ¥200, or ¥700 if you want to be served green tea – highly recommended for first-time visitors, since you’ll get to experience Japanese culture while being one with nature. Get some zakka or cool items like purses, pottery and antiques too. You'll find them along the streets. You can also try the passenger cart. It’s similar to a kalesa in the Philippines, but instead of a horse, a man will carry you in a cart around town. Wearing a kimono or yukata while touring around is also a good idea.
Take the Enoden (short for Enoshima Densha) train from Kamakura to Fujisawa. They are old versions of trains in Japan. You get to ride in a train with wooden flooring!
From the Kamakura Station, you can visit Hana-no-hashi Bridge, the former residence of Marquis Kacho, Jomyo-ji Temple and Sugimoto-dera Temple. A few minutes’ walk from Hase Station, you will find the Kamakura Daibutsu (Great Buddha). If you’re lucky, you’ll get to try Pompon Cakes – the owner sells his cakes on a cart while going around Kamakura. I haven’t caught up with him yet, but I got to try the cake at an event and it was unforgettable – Japanese cakes are very carefully made using organic products. If you have more time, drop by Yuigahama Beach, which is about a five-minute walk away from the station.
What’s good about Kanagawa is that no matter what the season, there’s always something to look forward to. Spring is definitely a given. You'll definitely enjoy seeing various kinds of flowers around the city such as daisies, wysterias and azaleas. Summer won’t disappoint as we’re very near the ocean; water sports in Japan are a must-try!
I've been keeping this feature as a secret for a while but since it's out I'm really happy to announce my tour/ feature at Cebu Pacific Smile Magazine! You can view it online here.