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Japan's Top 3

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After the Three Views were composed in the 17th century, many authors have come up with their own lists of Japanese sites and attractions. While there are countless lists and variations thereof, here is a selection of the best-known ones:

Views[edit]

Three Views[edit]

Floating torii, Miyajima

New Three Views[edit]

日本新三景

Three Great Night Views[edit]

View from Mount Inasa

三大夜景 Sandaiyakei

New Three Great Night Views[edit]

新三大夜景 Shin-sandaiyakei

  • Kitakyushu seen from Mount Sarakurayama,
  • Nara seen from Mount Wakakusayama
  • Yamanashi seen from Fuefuki River Fruit Park



Castles[edit]

Himeji Castle
Bitchu Matsuyama Castle, Takahashi

Three Famous Castles[edit]

三名城 Sanmeijō. A list written by Ogyu Sorai in the Edo Period. He chose these three castles as the top among those designed by Kato Kiyomasa and Todo Takatora who he considered to be the best castle designers.

Three Great Mountain Castles[edit]

三大山城 Sandaiyamashiro

Three Great Flatland Mountain Castles[edit]

三大平山城 Sandaihiroyamashiro


Three Famous Gardens[edit]

Korakuen Garden, Okayama

三名園 Sanmeien


Three Famous Mountains[edit]

三名山 Sanmeizan (Three Famous Mountains), also 三霊山 Sanreizan (Three Sacred Mountains)


Three Sacred Grounds[edit]

Okunoin graves on Mount Koya

三大霊場 sandai-reijo


Three Famous Big Buddhas[edit]

Great Buddha of Kamakura

三大大仏 Sandai-daibutsu


Three Great Festivals[edit]

Nebuta Matsuri, Aomori
Gujo Odori, Gujo
Omagari Fireworks, Daisen

三大祭 Sandaisai

The Nebuta Matsuri of Aomori is often considered to be one of the top three festivals, but it is actually only listed as one of the top three festivals of the Tohoku region (below).

Three Great Festivals of Tohoku[edit]

東北三大祭り

Three Great Festivals of Kyoto[edit]

京都三大祭

  • Gion Matsuri
  • Aoi Matsuri
  • Jidai Matsuri

Three Great Festivals of Shikoku[edit]

四国三大祭り

Three Great Obon Festivals[edit]

日本三大盆踊り

Three Great Fireworks[edit]

日本三大花火


Three Hot Springs[edit]

Certainly one of the more hotly contested categories. (No pun intended).

Shirahama Onsen

Three Great Hot Springs[edit]

三大温泉 Sandaionsen

Three Famous Springs[edit]

三名泉 Sanmeisen. This list, too, was authored by Hayashi Razan.

Three Old Springs[edit]

Bathhouse, Dogo Onsen

三古湯 Sankosen

Three Baths of Fusō[edit]

扶桑三名湯 Fusō-sanmeiyu. Fusō is a poetic name for Japan and this one is credited to traveling haiku poet Matsuo Basho.


Three Holy Places of Ōshū[edit]

Sulphur pit, Mount Osore

奥州三霊場 Ōshū sanreijō are the three most famous pilgrimage sites in the ancient land of Oku (奥), now known as Tohoku.


Shrines[edit]

Three Great Inari Shrines[edit]

Fushimi Inari, Kyoto
Usa Shrine, Usa
Kehi Shrine's Torii Gate

三大稲荷 Sandai Inari

As the head of all Inari shrines, Fushimi Inari Shrine is naturally one of the top three, but there is little historical or present consensus on the others. After Fushimi Inari, the list varies depending on the source. Takekoma Shrine in Iwanuma and Kasuma Inari Shrine in Kasama are also suggested by some.

Three Great Tenjin Shrines[edit]

三大天神 Sandai Tenjin

All Tenjin (Tenmangu) shrines are dedicated to the worship of Sugawara Michizane. This top three list actually highlights his exile from Kyoto to Dazaifu. Along the way, he stopped in Hofu and built the first Tenjin shrine. Official dedication of shrines to him began after his death when a series of natural disasters and tragedies in the capital were believed to be caused by his restless soul seeking vengeance for his unjust exile. Kitano Tenmangu was built to pacify him.


Three Great Hachiman Shrines[edit]

三八幡 San Hachiman

Three Great Torii[edit]

三大鳥居 Sandai Torii


Nature[edit]

Vine bridge, Iya Valley
Osugi Gorge
Kegon Falls

Three Hidden Regions[edit]

三大秘境 Sandaihikkyō

Top Three Gorges[edit]

三大渓谷

Three Caves[edit]

日本三大鍾乳洞

Three Waterfalls[edit]

日本三名瀑


Three Sake Towns[edit]

Sake Brewery in Higashihiroshima

日本三大酒処

Three Lacquerware Towns[edit]

日本三大漆器

Three Chinatowns[edit]

Chinatown, Yokohama

三大中華街 Sandai-chūkagai

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