Here lies a small island called “Enoshima” entirely dedicated to the “Benzaiten”, the Goddess of music and entertainment who is said to have made it rise from the bottom of the sea in the sixth century. Enoshima Jinja Shrine consists of three small shrines, each dedicated to a different Shinto Goddess, all of which are a Goddess of the Sea.
They are called “Hetsu no Miya” (Shrine at the edge) which is dedicated to the Tagitsu no Hime, “Nakatsu no Miya” (Shrine at the middle) which is dedicated to Ichikishima Hime no Mikoto and “Mokutsu no Miya” (Shrine at the depth) which is dedicated to Tajiri Hime no Mikoto. The most popular amongst tourists and even celebrities is the “Hetsu no Miya” shrine that dedicates two famous “Benten” Statues, the nude one and the one with eight arms.
Shishi or Jishi is translated as “lion”. They are stone guardians outside shrines that have magical properties and the power to repel evil spirits. Shishi’s traditionally stand guard outside the gates of Shinto or Buddhist temples, one with mouth open and the other closed. The open mouth relates to “Ah” which is the first sound in the Japanese alphabet and the closed mouth relates to “Un” which is the last. These two sounds symbolize beginning and end, birth and death or all other possible outcomes of existence. Others say the open mouth is to scare off demons, and the closed mouth to shelter and keep in the good spirits.
“Shirasu Don” with a side of “Ika Maruyaki” for lunch.
Many small souvenir shops line the path along the way.
After a long day of island culture I headed down to Shonan Beach. Although today seems a little quiet, this place is often called the Miami Beach of the East. Hordes of tourists, surfers and regular sun seekers flock here during the summer time. But today I enjoy the peacefulness and wonder why I don’t come here more often.