Ebina [海老名]・Zama [座間]

1. Ebina City [海老名]

Ebina city is located in central Kanagawa, and it boasts historical and cultural sites, as well as good food and a welcoming atmosphere. The main historical artifact in the city is Sagami Kokubunji-ato, the remains of the original Kokubunji temple, which has now relocated and renovated.

The city’s delicacy includes the Kouza-buta pork, a popular local dish which is rich in flavor. A popular way to cook this pork is with Miso-sauce. It will make you want to eat bowls of Japanese rice. Another, popular dish for local Ebina citizens and other Japanese people is the Kokubunji-Soba. The restaurant is located 7-8 minutes away from the station.

When you visit, please don’t forget to stop by local shops to buy souvenirs for family and friends. If you are looking for something unusual, try out the Strawberry Wine.  Its exotic taste should become a memorable gift.


6. Zama [座間]

          The city of Zama is known for the American Army military base located within the confines of the city limits, yet the splendours of Zama do not stop there. A historical town, it was part of the major Edo-period highway called the Tokaido, and thus numerous shrines and temples are spread throughout the city. During the 20th century, Zama became known as a military centre, housing the Imperial Japanese Army Academy (1937) and the Imperial Japanese Navy (1944), which eventually became the Army base as discussed previously. The American base is a presence in Zama, yet this does not detract from the wondrous nature parks and onsens available within Zama.

            The most popular nature preserve is the Zama Yatoyama Park. A bird sanctuary, the Zama Yatoyama Park is home to a multitude of bird species, along with an ``Insect Forest`` for those interested in insects (it is a big hit with children). There are around 15 onsens throughout Zama and each has its one unique characteristic that sets them apart from the others. Yukai Soukai is known for its beautiful scenery and friendly atmosphere which makes it perfect for tourists. Temples are always a popular destination, and Sochoji is one such temple. Built in 1603 under the command of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Sochoji is a spectacular shrine that will surely satiate a traveler`s desire to visit a Japanese shrine.

 

Matsudamachi [松田町] ・Yamakitamachi [山北町]

1. Matsudamachi [松田町]

Not as well known as Hakone or Kawasaki, Matsuda Machi still offers a fun time for foreigners who truly want to know the Japanese people.  Matsuda Machi is a town located in Ashigarakami District and has a modest population of nearly 11,000.  A popular activity in the area is the local matsuri, or Japanese festivals.  Held throughout the year, these festivals offer some of the most traditional experiences of Japan.  Often having great food and games, this is a great way for families to have fun in a new environment.

City like tourist attractions may not to everyone likes and for that reason, Matsuda Machi would be a greay place to visit.  Unlike many other tourist attractions, Matsuda machi prides itself with simplistic pleasures.  For example, consider the nearby Tanzawa mountain range where people can fish, camp, and paraglide.


2. Yamakita Machi [山北町]

          One of the most popular relaxation destinations for Japanese and foreigners alike is the ryokan, an inn that usually provides hot spring baths and delectable plates of food.  One of the most popular and affordable ryokans are available in Yamakita machi.  Yamakita machi is a town located in the Ashigarakami District in Kanagawa and it has the wonderful Ryokans, Gyouzantei Yamabuki and the Hatago Ichinoyu.  Both ryokans are highly recommended for the calm ambience they offer for their guests.  Furnished with great public baths, clean rooms, and great dinners, the aforementioned ryokans deliver a hospitality that rivals some of the very best accommodations around the world.  Friendly service, great food, peace, and quiet, what is there not to love?

 

Yokohama [横浜]

Yokohama [横浜]

        When one thinks of Kanagawa-ken, the most common answer that pops into one’s mind would have to be the second most populous city in Japan: Yokohama. Once a small fishing village during the Edo period, Yokohama has transformed into a metropolitan city rivalling even the famous Japanese cities, including Tokyo and Osaka.

        As a large city, Yokohama has plenty to offer to visitors. For tourists interested in history, Yokohama is rich in historical sites such as the first port opened to foreigners in the mid-19th century. Kannai port is home to many museums depicting Japan’s history of trade and western culture that can still be seen to this day. Yokohama is home to China Town (中華街), where one can get authentic Chinese cuisine and is also a popular tourist destination. If one was so inclined to go shopping, Yokohama is the place to do it. From the Landmark Tower (the largest building in Japan) to the Queen’s Square Yokohama, Yokohama offers any and all material goods.

        Yokohama is also a popular destination for many Japanese for the unique food the city offers. The shumai (small dumplings) from Yokohama are renowned all around Tokyo, and the best can be found in Yokohama’s China Town. Yokohama curry is famous for blending Japanese flavours with Indian curry, creating a fantastic blend of flavours and spices. The sweet tasting silk almonds and the cute “Red Shoes Chocolates” (chocolate fashioned into small red shoes) are both bestselling confectionaries that have tickled the tastes buds of numerous customers. Other famous sites to visit are the Cosmo Clock 21, Japan’s largest Ferris wheel (and clock), and Sankei-en, a showcase of seventeen traditional Japanese buildings of which ten are considered Important National Cultural Properties. These are just a few examples of the wares one can enjoy in this beautiful city

 

Kawasaki

Kawasaki [川崎]

A rising tourist destination is the city of Kawasaki which is located between Tokyo and Yokohama and is the ninth most populated city in Japan.  A popular stop on the historically significant Tokaido road across Japan, Kawasaki continues to rise in popularity for the multitude of things it offers for its inhabitants and visitors alike. 

One of the most popular images of Japan is the busy Nakamise-dori street.  This 200 meter street is the lane that runs between the Daisanmon to the Kawasaki Daishi and is lined up with stores selling mochi, Tontoko-ame (candy), and daruma dolls.  Constantly filled with people, Nakamise-dori is the perfect destination for gift shopping and interaction with the Japanese people.  Next month Nakamise dori will be hosting the Furin Ichi Festival, the festival of the wind chimes.  At this festival, wind chimes from all over Japan will be brought singing wildly in the rowdy lifestyle.

Another similar popular area are the cineplex called La Citta Della and Lazona, the “land of anything one could ask for”.  Inspired by European city design and architecture, this village offers the best of the Tokyo Metropolitan area sufficing everyone’s needs.  Colorful streams of stores and restaurants can be found along the cobblestone that founds this tourist haven including the Ginza Toujuro which specializes in poultry cuisine.  Even a state of the art of nightclub and skate parks is available to the general public.  Lazona similarly offers fashion, dining, and entertainment in the form of numerous stores and restaurants.  Housing stores that include Bic Camera, Tokyo Komachi, Global Work, Olympia, and 300 other shops, Lazona is a place that entertains an audience of all ages.  Unrivaled in many parts of Japan, La Citta Della and Lazona are places one must visit in Kawasaki.

For those who are looking for some peace and quiet from their hectic lives, the Muza Kawasaki Symphony Hall is the best place to be.  Opened in 2004, the symphony hall offers top classical music by the Tokyo Symphony Orchestra.  The hall also offers casual lunches with live time performances.  With a variety of places with each one offering so much, Kawasaki rivals other industrial entertainment centers in Japan.

Shonan Area [湘南]

1Kamakura [鎌倉]

    Kamakura is one of the most well known of all tourist attractions in Japan. With a rich history spanning several centuries, Kamakura is a must see destination for any tourist wishing to visit Japan. The city is a treasure trove of interesting shrines and monuments depicting the long and rich history of Japan. As one of the foremost cities created when Japan was starting to emerge as a nation, Buddhist and Shinto shrines centuries old are common through the city and make for wonderful tourist attractions. The most famous of these shrines is the Koutokuin Shrine, of more commonly known as the Great Buddha. This massive bronze statue of the Buddha is one of the popular tourist destinations in Japan, making it a must see sight. Other shrines such as The Kamakura Gozan and the Tsurugaoko Hachiman-go are also famous attractions that attract thousands of visitors per year. Museums are also popular destinations, and the most famous, the Kamakura Kokuhoukan, the home to relics and artifacts of Japan’s vibrant history.  Kamakura also provides fantastic beaches, such as the renowned Yuigahama beach; a popular destination for surfers and beach goers alike.

              Kamakura is known for festivals, or “Matsuri” in Japanese, and the summer months are filled with fireworks and lots of dancing and singing. Kamakura is a lively place, and will sure to entertain anyone who visits the city. The food in the city of Kamakura is quite excellent, such as Kamakura’s nationally renowned senbei, a delectable Japanese snack. Stores such as Beniya(紅谷) and Noushimya (農島屋) specialize in Japanese confectionary goods, and make good gifts for family members and friends.


2. Chigasaki [茅ヶ崎]

While Chigasaki may be a small city, this does not mean that this wonderful city has little to offer. Becoming a city in 1947, Chigasaki is the birthplace of surfing in Japan, and is a well known spot for surfing enthusiasts. The “Southern Beach” of Chigasaki has become a renowned place for surfers and non-surfers alike for its beautiful beaches and superb waves. The surfboard and other surfing accessories store “Goddess” is reportedly the first surfing store that opened in Japan and is famous for its surfboards and other paraphernalia. Chigasaki is also the centre of Hawaiian Japanese culture, and as such, many restaurants and shops cater to the Hawaiian culture. Chigasaki also has “Aloha Fridays”, where Hawaiian culture and customs come alive within the city.

              There are plenty of eateries and shops that offer a wide selection of goods in Chigasaki. A brewery called “Kumazawa Sakekou” offers original brews that quench one’s thirst after a long day at the beach, and “Kumaya”, a well-known Japanese restaurant full of delicious food. One can also buy gifts and presents in Chigasaki, including delicious sea food, such as Yajima Ham and Shounan Zantes, and numerous accessories at Studio Starfish.

 

 

Hakone [箱根]

1. Hakone [箱根]

A checkpoint of the legendary Tokaido Road marking the outskirts of the Kanto Region, Hakone has become a must come tourist destination as the ideal retreat in Japan.  Hakone is most well-known for the natural and remedial hot springs in the area.  Tourists can enjoy the numerous onsen ryokan, traditional Japanese inns that are furnished with these hot springs at reasonable prices.  Such hotels include the Kowakien Yessun and the Tenzan which have continuously had great reviews for their hospitality and cleanliness.   With the hot springs and Mt. Fuji in the background, Hakone is often the epitome of the beauty of nature.  Another popular area is Lake Ashi (Ashinoko) which offers one of the best views of Fuji Mountain.  The breathtaking view will often be best on a sunny day in the winter seasons.

A popular eats of Hakone are the Black Eggs, called kurotamago.  Boiled in the hot springs water, these eggs become black due to the chemical reaction with the shell and the sulfur in the water.  Though it is a very foreign concept, these eggs are quite tasty.  Also, according to a Japanese legend, every consumed egg adds on five years to one’s life. 

              Any trip cannot be complete without some gifts, or omiyage, to give to one’s friends.  Popular omiyage include the aforementioned black eggs, the charcoal dumplings, and traditional Japanese parquetry called yosegi-zaiku.  The charcoal dumplings which are made in Usagi-ya, contains red bean center with actual pieces of charcoal.  Pitch black in color, these dumplings are individually prepared and wrapped and are great yet unique gift from Japan.  Yosegi-zaiku are mosaic, woodwork pieces that date all the way back to the culturally rich Edo period.  Using different trees to create different colors and patterns, the artists often create yosegi surfaces which can decorate numerous belongings including photo frames, chests, and trays.


2. Odawara [小田原]

            While other cities have historical backgrounds, Odawara is steeped with Japanese history, especially during the well-studied and fascinating time period “Sengoku-jidai”. The city of Odawara is full of historical significance and will titillate the interested traveler’s desire to study Japanese history. The most famous historical monument is the Odawara Castle. One of the most famous, if not the most, castles in Japan; Odawara Castle was built to be a nigh impregnable fortress. However, the stewards of the castle, the Hojo clan, suffered a tremendous defeatin 1590 at the hands of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the most powerful men in the 16th century.  It is now a museum and visitors can walk the grounds and revel in the splendour of the castle.

            Nature is a key part of Odawara, and there are many destinations for travellers. Enoura is off the coast of Odawara and is a pristine beach. Sea turtles are known to inhabit the area, and the clear waters make it a popular scuba diving destination. On dry land, the Odawara Wanpaku Land is a hybrid of an amusement park with a nature preserve. Surrounded by forests and mountains, the Odawara Wanpaku Land has attractions for children and is great for the whole family.

 

 

Tourism

Before the devastating earthquake that shook Japan, Japan was one of the greatest tourists attractions across the globe.  Attracting guests from around the world, Japan seemed to be the epicenter of a vacationer’s dream.  However after the earthquake, panic spread beyond the borders of Japan.  Though the areas near Fukushima face an uphill battle trying to remedy the nuclear issue in that area, the government is working its very best to not only to restore Japan to where it was but to improve upon it.  Many industries have been directly and indirectly affected by this earthquake.  One of the greatest disturbed industries that has been often over looked or skimmed by the media is tourism.  Tourism had been a continuous financial support for Japan, but this valuable resource has plummeted due to fear of radiation spreading throughout Japan.  One of the "rumor-affected" tourist areas includes Kanagawa Prefecture, the second largest prefecture in Japan.  The radiation level in Kanagawa is actually lower than the international standard of radiation 1 microsievert, yet the prefecture continues to struggle with the receding numbers of visitors.  One way to remedy this unprecedented issue is spreading awareness of the safety of Kanagawa prefecture.  Listed below are great tourist destinations located in Kanagawa prefecture, which are must visit destinations.  Hopefully this article will be part of the solution to the revival of Japan. 


 

 

1.     Ebina [海老名]・Zama [座間]

2.     Hakone [箱根]

3.     Kawasaki [川崎]

4.     Matsudamachi [松田町] ・Yamakitamachi [山北町]

5.     Miura [三浦]・Hayama [葉山]・Yokosuka [横須賀]

6.     Sagamihara [相模原]

7.     Samukawamachi [寒川町]

8.     Shonan Area [湘南]

9.     Yokohama [横浜]

10.     Fujisawa [藤沢]

11.     Kamakura [鎌倉]


    “There is a reason why Kanagawa has become the second most populated prefecture in Japan.  Despite being only thirty minutes away from Tokyo, Kanagawa prefecture offers a more diverse spectrum of things that appeal to locals and foreigners alike.  From the world renowned hot springs of Hakone to the local festivals in Matsudamachi, I assure you that you will not only want to visit but live in Kanagawa!” 
    -Hiroe Makiyama