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Enoura Observatory: One artist's dream to capture the essence of Japanese culture

Posted on January 8, 2021


In less than just two hours away from central Tokyo by public transport, you can escape to the architectural masterpiece of the Enoura Observatory located in Odawara, Kanagawa Prefecture. Founded in October 2017 by the Odawara Art Foundation and designed by the artist Hiroshi Sugimoto, this is a place that exudes a true sense of harmony between the dual forces of nature and human existence. The Enoura Observatory is a stunning installation of elegant Japanese medieval to modern architecture into a panoramic backdrop of Sagami Bay and hillside greenery and citrus trees through which Sugimoto hopes to convey the essence of Japanese culture to the rest of the world.


Enoura Observatory Odawara

photo by @knnkjm

There’s so much to see and do at the observatory, from the noh theater stage that overlooks the ocean, to strolling through meditative rock gardens, to exploring the different art galleries (one of which is 100 meters long with walls made of glass), you’ll definitely find yourself galavanting for hours. You can also visit the tea ceremony room and the famous Meigetsu Gate that was restored from the Muromachi Period.


Enoura Observatory Odawara window

photo by @sanai_kurita

Exhibitions in the art galleries change seasonally, so visiting multiple times is still worthwhile if you check the artists in advance! You can also enjoy the observatory at different times of the day or times of the year to experience the varying forms of light coming into the building.


Enoura Observatory Odawara glass windows

photo by @8845_rest

Just look at those views. Standing here, you get the feeling of standing at the edge of the world.

Enoura Observatory Odawara shrine

photo by @elctrworld628


The blending of old and new, traditional and modern is a reoccurring theme that you’l find as you walk around.


Enoura Observatory Odawara Noh Stage

photo by @nmttys

Can you spot the Noh theater stage in the distance?

Enoura Observatory Odawara rock structures

photo by @volaheyo

A walkway into a Zen paradise.

Enoura Observatory Odawara views

photo by @aisha_ananda_official

And coming out the other side…

Enoura Observatory Odawara interior

photo by @elctrworld628

Reservations must be made in advance so make sure to purchase a ticket before you travel, as it also includes the shuttle bus ticket!

Enoura Observatory Odawara Sagami Bay view

photo by @elctrworld628

More views of Sagami Bay from the observatory. For people who love to take a tip at any chance they can get, there are lots of opportunities for swimming in the Bay if you don’t want to head back straight away after your trip to Odawara!



JR Tokkaido line from Odawara Station to Nebukawa Station (7 mins)

Free shuttle bus from Nebukawa Station to Enoura Observatory (10 mins)

You can read more on Odawara Art Foundation’s official website here.

Written by: Maya Kimura Watts