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Shonan Japan


Here are a few photos (scanned 35mm) that I took of the Shonan area of Japan. Mainly they are of Fujisawa City, a small suburb of Tokyo of about 450,000, and the nearby Enoshima Beach. These were taken in 2001 during a visit to my sister who lived in Fujisawa City at the time. Fujisawa is a fairly new city, (most built since WWII) and I was struck by how different the development patterns are there as compared to cities of the same age located in the USA sunbelt.

First, here is a map showing Fujisawa in relation to Tokyo. It is about 50 minutes from Tokyo station by heavy rail express train on the Tokaido line. I am not sure how far that is in miles but surprisingly, even though this is a continuous urban area, I don't think this is considered part of the Tokyo Metro.



This is a strange structure that invites you to Fujisawa City. I have been told it denotes the shopping district. Note the lack of automobiles even though this is a densely packed area by western standards. (Fujisawa city is only 32 sq/miles if my calculations are correct)

I did not exactly catch the street life in these photos but there were plenty of people there. Another interesting item are the second story sidewalks. Fujisawa city like many Japanese cities operate at more than one level. This is of the main square in town.





One of the more interesting things going on at the time we were there was the national elections. Campaigning included these vans that were driving all over the city with loud speakers and girls with white gloves cheerleading for their particular candidate.

Like most Japanese cities that we saw, everything revolves around the train stations. The Fujisawa city train station is a big facility with maybe 10 or so platforms and with a nice shopping complex. The place was always busy.
Turnstiles to platforms

Automatic ticket dispensers. Note the mural. One of the things I liked about these machines (once you figured them out!) is that once you purchased your ticket, a cartoon lady would appear on the video screen and bow to you. It was really a nice touch.

Get some food for your journey. Rice Balls, Sushi, noodle bowls, baked goods, and bento boxes could be had here.

Lots of people using the train. The trains there are almost always heavy rail. The cars are clean and well kept up and always on time. (You can literally set your watch by them) Most of the lines like this one have about 16-20 cars/train and leave every 3-7 minutes during the busier times of the day.


This is the much smaller station at Enoshima Beach. (my traveling companions don't want to be displayed on the internet) Still, I counted 4 heavy rail lines going there.

Enoshima Beach is quite nice. There is also an island just off the coast containing temples and a small amusement park at the top. If you don't want to walk to the top, automatic escalators, which turn on when you get close, will take you. LOL.

This is at the top of the island looking back towards the Shonan area. The Pacific ocean is in the other direction.

People gathering for a fireworks display. It was one of the best that I have ever seen. That mainly seemed due to the closeness of he explosions.

Ubiquitious in Japan, there are vending machines everywhere selling almost everything. I note they always worked. (How about some Coffee Boss, the Boss of all Coffees. LOL)

If coffee isn't to your liking, you can get beer instead.

Cars are relatively cheap in Japan, parking is not. Most residences do not provide parking so if you own a vehicle you have to purchase a place to park it. Often, I am told, this is more expensive than the vehicle itself. Here we have one solution to the problem.

KFC is one of the most popular American chains. Here is an example of one. Here you also see my shy companions standing beside a life size Col. Sanders. I am told he gets dressed up as a Shonan Warrier during a holiday in spring, and he is often confused with Santa klause. This is typical of many restaurants in Japan. Order on the first floor, dining on second floor.

Finally I will end this with the Great Buddha located in Kamakura, which is at the northern end of this area. This Buddha was cast centuries ago and once was covered by a temple which was washed away by a tital wave.

Hope you enjoyed this tour of Shonan Japan.
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Did you get a chance to see the outskirts of town? I'm wondering whether open space surrounding the city is conserved more in Japan, or if the fringes still sprawl everywhere like in the US.

Don't foreign countries find it insulting when American products only advertise in English?


From what I can tell, this close to Tokyo there are no outskirts. Every inch of land is completely developed with either buildings, parkspace, or involved with growing food. In fact, I saw very little of what westerners would call open space as most of rural Japan is covered in vast areas of agriculture. Most of this is in the form of rice patties, but other crops are grown as well. The only other exception to this are the mountainous areas which are not really inhabitable and are quite beautiful.

As far as advertizing in English is concerned, this is something the Japanese do themselves. English is used widely in Japan by the Japanese and their companies. It is not for the benefit of westerners, but rather it is considered "upscale" to print things in English.

Seabishop said:
Did you get a chance to see the outskirts of town? I'm wondering whether open space surrounding the city is conserved more in Japan, or if the fringes still sprawl everywhere like in the US.

Don't foreign countries find it insulting when American products only advertise in English?