Andrew’s world in Japan 2019/January

Artist & researcher based in KL since 2009, passionately exploring the creative process & connecting with other creative people.

Strolling Island Steps, Slopes and Small Streets ③ – A Candle And Historic Garden

With so much to observe and appreciate on Enoshima Island, you could spend a few days there. Relaxingly observing the sun rotate into the moon as shadows grow and merge into the night. If you’ve kept up with the previous two parts, we made our way through the Torii up the hill as the views keep getting better. Our walk towards Iwaya Cave brings us to the historic garden with a special lookout candle. Here we can take a break and enjoy a beverage at a nice café or grab something from a vending machine. Oh, you packed your own snacks and drinks, better yet.

Formerly a residence of the British trader, Samuel Cocking, today this land hosts the remains. The Samuel Cocking Garden, also known as the Enoshima Tropical Plants Garden was established in 1880. Mr. Cocking cultivated his love of tropical plants here. This history is that shortly after Japan officially opened back to the rest of the world in 1869, Samuel Cocking, who grew up in Melbourne, arrived in Yokohama. I am not sure who gives the accreditation, but he is credited with introducing bicycles, soap and the electric light bulb to Japan. Mostly his business specialized in trading Japanese trinkets, art and antiques along with importing drugs, chemicals, scientific and laboratory equipment. Photography was an interest of his and he imported chemicals and equipment related to the newly growing field. During the Meiji government’s policy to ‘abolish the Buddha,’ an opportunity for him to purchase the highland area of Enoshima Island came about.

Visiting today, it is difficult to visualize all the history surrounding this beautiful island. Today the garden hosts some 250 kinds of camellias and roses that were a gift from Windsor City, Canada. During renovations of the lighthouse and gardens, remains of a brick greenhouse structure were uncovered. It was not that long ago that the greenhouse crumbled to its foundation. The 1923 Great Kantō earthquake destroyed it and by 1949 no trace was visible. Some will really enjoy the opportunity to view these traces of history.

Stop and enjoy some soba at a restaurant here or move on and take the higher view in the Enoshima Sea Candle. Hopefully, you are visiting on a clear day like I was, and can catch Mt. Fuji. Built to celebrate the Enoshima Electric Railway, there are two observation decks. One indoors and another outdoors. Up here, there’s the spectacular view of Mount Fuji and if you stick around for it, the sunset. What you are looking out at is the mountains of Hakone, Sagami Bay, Tanzawa and the Izu Peninsula.