Hybrid Island “Enoshima”


Enoshima20 years have past since Toyota released hybrid vehicle on Dec-1997 for the first time in the world.

There are 2 meanings in “hybrid”.

1.An animal or plant that has parents of different SPECIES or varieties.

2.Something that is the product of mixing two or more different things.

When Japanese use the word “hybrid”, meaning of no.2 uses it. It is Japanese strong point, for example digital camera, brush pen, cup noodles e.t.c.

However Japanese have hybridized not only article but also place.

It is a popular sightseeing spot “Enoshima”. Enoshima is a small island 6 km around, but many elements are compacted.

01 Enoshima↑Enoshima

Why is it hybrid?

Let me explain.

If we write Enoshima in Japanese, it is generally “江の島”, but it seems that we can see many kind of notation of Enoshima in on old literatures as followings「江島」「江乃島」「江之島」「柄島」「絵島」「画島」「榎島」「荏島」.

Even now, there are cases where it is written “江ノ島” in stations. Enoshima can be expressed by different letter combination, so we might be able to say hybrid for the word “Enoshima”.

Is this a distorted interpretation???

From now on, I will write the distorted interpretation, so please forgive me.

The central existence of Enoshima is Enoshima Shrine from ancient times, but we might be able to say the building that has been added into central existence in recent times is “Enoshima sea candle”.

02 Enoshima Shrine_Zuishin-mon gate

↑Enoshima Shrine (Zuishin-mon gate)

03 Enoshima sea candle

↑Enoshima sea candle

And then, European style garden “Enoshima Samuel Cocking garden” extends and beautiful flowers are in bloom at the feet of Enoshima sea candle.

04 Enoshima Samuel Cocking garden

05 Enoshima Samuel Cocking garden↑Enoshima Samuel Cocking garden

Japanese style and European style, New and Old exist as one in Enoshima. It is hybrid!

By the way, Enoshima is considered the birthplace of Japanese modern natural science.

The one of reasons is in Enoshima Samuel Cocking. Samuel Cocking who was Irish trader built an epoch-making Tropical Botanic Garden on the top of Enoshima in 1885. And Enoshima Samuel Cocking garden was built on the site.

Also, Edward Sylvester Morse who is the first zoology professor of The University of Tokyo opened the first Japanese marine biological station in Enoshima in 1877.

These are the reasons why Enoshima became to be called birthplace of Japanese modern natural science.

In this connection, the building of Enoshima sea candle that has café and souvenir shop use the foundation of the old Enoshima lighthouse. We can say this is hybrid of old and new.

Now then, history of Enoshima.

Enoshima had been used as an ascetic practices place since 1,300 years ago, and En no Ozunu, Eukai, Ennin, Ippen e.t.c who is familiar in Japan practiced asceticism.

On the other hand, starting with Yoritomo Minamoto, famous warriors in Japan such as Tokimasa Hojo, Ieyasu Tokugawa, Mitsukuni Tokuwaga visited. Furthermore, Enoshima became a resort in 1800s, so many ordinary people visited.

Enoshima made a transition from hybrid island between ascetic practices place and worship place to hybrid island between worship place and resort.

06 Picture of Soushu Enoshima (around 1842)” by Hiroshige Utagawa

“Picture of Soushu Enoshima (around 1842)” by Hiroshige Utagawa

And then, Enoshima as hybrid island between worship place and resort has still continued.

07 Entrnce of approach to a Enoshima Shrine↑Entrnce of approach to a Enoshima Shrine

The elevation of Enoshima is only 60m, but it has many ups and downs, so you have to ascend or descend staircases to go around the island. It might be hard for the underexercised person.

Accordingly, the first Japanese outdoor escalator “Enoshima Escar” is convenience.

In my own information, I don’t know place where is exist both staircase and outdoor escalator inside the same island in Japan. So, this can also be said hybrid between new and old.

By the way, I used staircase for health when I visited Enoshima, so I couldn’t take a photo of Enoshima Escar. Thus, please forgive me by following photo (Map of Enoshima Escar)↓

08 Enoshima Escar

That’s all! How was it?

My explanation might have been distorted interpretation, but there are many hybrids in Enoshima. Don’t you think so?

If we combine what we already have, new things will be born. It can be one method we can always maintain a fresh sense.

Let’s enjoy the fresh sense by visiting Enoshima!

【Japanese WEB】




Enoshima, Fujisawa, Kanagawa, Japan

Post code: 251-0036