• Shonan: A Taste of Classic Coastal Japan

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    Shonan: A Taste of Classic Coastal Japan


Blending surfer city coolness with the history and legacy of traditional Japan, all with the view of neighbouring Mt. Fuji, the coastal region of Shonan is diverse and fascinating, with lots of excitement to offer if you go looking for it. However, if it's luxury and relaxation, you're chasing it has plenty of that too. Close enough from Tokyo to be a day trip destination, but far enough to feel like a city retreat, Shonan is unique, it's Japan like you didn't expect and a destination you have no excuse not to visit.


Under the Shonan umbrella sits several towns and coastal destinations, many of which are popular with Tokyo locals looking for a seaside escape. It's the name given to the land that runs along the coast of Sagami Bay in Kanagawa Prefecture, stretching from Ōiso in the west to Hayama in the east, and including Hiratsuka, Chigasaki, Fujisawa, Enoshima and Kamakura.

Enoshima is a small, tourist-centric island home to an aquarium, an observation tower, a unique European style garden and restaurants scattered along the weaving walking paths that make their way up the rocky inclines of the island. Surrounding the island, you'll find dark sand beaches dotted with tanned surfers and families escaping the sweltering city heat.

Just a few stops away on the Enoshima Electric Railway is where you'll find Kamakura. It' s a historic city many refer to as 'mini Kyoto.' With its traditional stores, delightfully ageing food stands, culinary diversity, trendy upstarts and impressive sacred sites - like Hachimangu Shrine and the Great Buddha - it bears many resembling features to the country's cultural capital.

Hayama and Zushi are neighbouring cities that while they may not have as many tourist attractions as the destinations above, they offer plenty in the way of beachside relaxation and watersports opportunities. On a windy afternoon, it's a common sight to see near hundreds of windsurfers catching the gusts of Sagami Bay backdropped by the silhouette of Mt. Fuji set in the smoky blue sunset.

Food scene

Similar to its oft-compared bigger sibling city Kyoto, Kamakura is a culinary destination many would agree worth visiting for the food choices alone. Food stalls line the main street Komachi Dori selling a variety of street food options, like croquettes, dango, sushi to go and soft cream. There are plenty of restaurants, both Japanese and international, where you can sit down and take a load off too.

Closer to Zushi and Hayama is where you'll find family-centred favourites and humble local classics that choose substance and charm over flashiness. Marlowe Pudding is a pudding store and cafe that's become a Japanese institution thanks to its incredible sweets. Not far from Marlowe, on the same road is Soba Okeya (蕎麦 桶や) a humble soba store that sells incredible artisanal style soba dishes the locals rave about. For something simple, try the zaru (cold) soba, or if you're feeling fancy, the 'kamo' duck soba is a rich treat.

Around the coast, you'll also find an abundance of 'teishoku' set meal restaurants offering filling, cheap and ultra-fresh dishes utilizing the region's excellent vegetables and seafood. If you find one, don't be shy to pop in as you'll never be disappointed.

Places to stay

If you're looking for somewhere secluded, with unparalleled beach access and design that will make you rethink what a beach house can be, then you can look past Staycation house rentals, here are some of the Shonan highlight properties.

No Where But Hayama:

Built over 100 years ago, and located next door to the holiday house of the Imperial family, this traditional Japanese style home is an exclusive royal treatment luxury fit for a family or travelling group. With spacious traditional Japanese style rooms on the first floor, a sleek communal kitchen area and a jacuzzi on the second floor, the only reason you'll want to leave this property is to stroll on the beach which is only a 20-second walk away.

Shonan Isshiki Beach House:

Sitting behind No Where But Hayama, these spacious beachside option is a more western-influenced affair, with its European style dining space, floor to ceiling windows and dark stained wooden floorboards. Its Japanese style bathroom and position right in from of Isshiki Beach are a nice additional touch.

Nowhere But Sajima:

Like something ripped straight from the pages of a luxury beach lifestyle magazine, Nowhere But Sajima is quite possibly one of the most unforgettable properties you'll ever have the pleasure of staying in. Its dynamic modern architecture and floor to ceiling windows blur the lines of man-made structures and outdoor access, making the home feel like it's literally sitting on the water of Sajima bay. Glass windows allow the coastal light to flood the space. At the same time, the positioning of the windows is private enough for you to take a dip in the bath and enjoy the views without having to worry about privacy.

Contact TARO for more information and exclusive offers.