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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
  • Sankei (三景). The most famous list of them all, attributed to scholar Hayashi Gahō back in 1643. They follow the Snow-Moon-Flower (雪月花) aesthetic with Amanohashidate representing the snow (雪), Matsushima representing the moon (月), and Miyajima representing the flower (花), although the "flowers" are said to actually be the autumn leaves. Three Views of Japan (Q1144867) on Wikidata Three Views of Japan on Wikipedia

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. All three are modern reconstructions, since Kumamoto Castle burned down during the 1877 Satsuma Rebellion and Nagoya and Osaka Castles were destroyed during World War II.

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 It is unclear when these gardens were chosen or by whom. The first recorded list dates back to 1899, but a postcard bought by Shiki Masaoka from his visit to Korakuen Garden in 1891 has "Korakuen Garden, Number 1 of the Top 3 Gardens" written on the back. It is widely believed that the gardens follow the "Snow-Moon-Flower" (雪月花) aesthetic coined by a famous Chinese poem by Bai Juyi. Kenrokuen Garden, famous for its snowy scenery, represents the "Snow" (雪), Korakuen Garden, which to this day has an autumn moon-viewing event, represents the "Moon"(月), and Kairakuen, known for its early spring plum blossoms, represents the "Flower" (花). In addition, each of the gardens are strolling gardens built by famous daimyo (The Tokugawa built Kairakuen, the Ikeda built Korakuen, and the Maeda built Kenrokuen) which is also believed to have played a role in which gardens were given the prestigious designation.


Festivals[edit]

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

Three Great Festivals[edit]

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


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. Authored by Hayashi Razan, father of Hayashi Gahō.

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.


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

Temples[edit]

Three Sacred Grounds[edit]

Okunoin graves on Mount Koya

三大霊場 sandai-reijo

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.

Three Famous Big Buddhas[edit]

Great Buddha of Kamakura

三大大仏 Sandai-daibutsu

Three Pagodas[edit]

三名塔 Sanmeitō

Three Hase Temples[edit]

三長谷 Sanhase

Nature[edit]

Vine bridge, Iya Valley
Osugi Gorge
Kegon Falls

Three Famous Mountains[edit]

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

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 Pine Groves[edit]

三大松原 Sandai-matsubara


Towns[edit]

Three Sake Towns[edit]

Chinatown, Yokohama

日本三大酒処

Three Lacquerware Towns[edit]

日本三大漆器

Three Chinatowns[edit]

三大中華街 Sandai-chūkagai

Food[edit]

Kitakata Ramen
Sanuki Udon

Soba[edit]

三大そば Sandai-soba'

Ramen[edit]

三大ラーメン Sandai-raamen

Udon[edit]

三大うどん Sandai-udon

Beef[edit]

三大和牛 Sandai-wagyu

Some sources also claim Yonezawa Beef (Yonezawa) is one of the top three beefs.

This travel topic about Japan's Top 3 is a usable article. It touches on all the major areas of the topic. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.