Tokyobling's Blog

Odawara City By Night

Posted in Places by tokyobling on October 21, 2013

The other day I passed through Kanagawa Prefecture, between Shizuoka Prefecture and Tokyo City, so I took the opportunity to make a brief stop in the castle town of Odawara. This city is one of the overlooked gems of a day trip from Tokyo. It has a castle, a beautiful beach, historical buildings, delicious local specialities and to top it all, it is just 850 yen one way from Shinjuku in the heart of Tokyo, by the Odakyu Line. To me it is right up there with Nikko and Kamakura on the list of great day trips from Tokyo. I took these photos of Odawara station, and the castle silhouetted against the sunset. Odawara has a tiny entertainment district south of the station reached by ducking into the wonderfully retro Osharedoori entrance arch. All the major sights are within walking distance from the station so you never need to worry about local transport once you reach the station. Use the tags to find all the other posts I have done about Odawara over the years!
















Miyukinohama – Odawara Beach

Posted in Places by tokyobling on April 25, 2012

Last year, during the peak of the summer I visited Odawara City on the coast south west of Tokyo, at the far west end of Kanagawa Prefecture. Odawara is easily one of my favorite cities in Japan (after Tokyo of course), not least because it is a coastal town with a long beautiful coastline. When I first came to Japan I always wondered why Japanese were so reluctant to develop their coastal areas, whereas France and the US have resorts, mansions, expensive commercial districts and high class villas built up right up to the ocean most of coastal Japan has nothing more exciting than a high way or a gasoline stand. Well, after the tsunami I sort of get it. The main beach here in Odawara is called Miyukinohama (御幸の浜), for the Japanese word “miyuki” or 御幸 which means imperial visit. It is in memory of the emperor Meiji who visited with his empress in 1873 to observe local fishing. For thousands of years the emperors had been very secluded in their palace, so for the local citizens of Odawara an Imperial visit must have been amazingly exciting! Emperor Meiji was the first emperor to actually travel around a little bit and Odawara was one of his first visits during a difficult transition time between the old and the new Japan. It was much too hot for me to dare to undress and get into the ocean, my skin would have burnt up in minutes, but I imagine it must be very different during the traditional New Year’s swim that is held here on the 1st of January every year when hundred of people brave the cold! Odawara is close enough to Tokyo be a possible day trip and well worth the effort. Get on the first train out of Tokyo and go back just after sunset, it will be a great way to spend a day off without having the hassle of booking hotel rooms, or you can stay the night like I did. Definitively recommended!

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