Enoshima / 江ノ島, part 2

Enoshima Shrine / 江島神社

Go back to Enoshima / 江ノ島, part 1
Enoshima Shrine is a Shinto shrine devoted to the goddess Benzaiten (弁財天), whom to many of my readers will be more recognizable by her Hindu name, Saraswati.

Ok, so right now some of you are thinking, "Wait, what?? Saraswati? Shinto!?" Looking from an ancient historical perspective, it's actually not so super-shocking. Benzaiten has held a very special role in spirituality throughout much of Asia ever since she was first introduced to the world ma-a-any centuries ago by priests from India. The goddess Benzaiten is the source of all that flows: music, words, water, etc., and so she fits in perfectly here, in the little island of Enoshima, where goodness seems to flow in abundance northward to the mainland.

In the cover photo at the top, the stairs leading up to the main gate of the shrine are looking pretty steep, but this is only the beginning. What you see there is the main building of the shrine. To see all of it, you must climb, and climb, and then climb some more, until you reach you traverse many staircases like this one, finally reaching the summit of the large hill (tiny mountain?) that is Enoshima. To be honest, it's a bit exhausting, but there are many other smaller shrines to see along the way, as well as shops, restaurants and bars to help you re-fuel.

As it turns out, the journey to the top is worth the effort. The ocean views from the gardens at the highest point of elevation are very beautiful. On a clear day, I understand, one can even see Mt. Fuji! I was hoping for a look myself, but the air was quite hazy during my visit. Once at the top, I hung out for quite a while, taking in the scenery.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to make the descent to the far side of the island, down to the rock beach below since I knew that the only way back was to go up over and down again. After a rest, however, I decided I was up for it and headed down. I was glad I made the descent after seeing some very unusual rock formations that I had never seen before! These deep openings in the rock have filled up with sea water, creating tiny seas that seem to contain their own unique ecosystems! Most of them are rich with ocean plant life and some of them have fish living in them!

This was really very cool and they're definitely unlike anything else I've seen before. The oceanfront views from here were just as inspiring as the others I saw throughout the day, but offered something different, so I stayed for a while for some photography.

After some more hanging out, I decided it was time to head back for something to eat and started my climb back to the top. The next part of my adventure happens in part three!

No comments:

Post a Comment