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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:


Three Views[edit]

Amanohashidate's "Bridge to Heaven"
  • 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]


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


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. Himeji Castle, widely recognized as Japan's greatest surviving castle, didn't make the cut back in the late 1600s.

Three Great Mountain Castles[edit]

三大山城 Sandaiyamajiro

Three Great Flatland Mountain Castles[edit]

三大平山城 Sandaihirayamajiro.

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.


Gion Matsuri, Kyoto
Nebuta Matsuri, Aomori
Gujo Odori, Gujo
Konomiya Naked Festival in Inazawa
Omagari Fireworks, Daisen

Three Great Festivals[edit]

三大祭り Sandai Matsuri

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 Tohoku Sandai Matsuri

Three Great Festivals of Kyoto[edit]

京都三大祭り Kyoto Sandai Matsuri

  • Gion Matsuri
  • Aoi Matsuri
  • Jidai Matsuri

Three Great Festivals of Shikoku[edit]

四国三大祭り Shikoku Sandai Matsuri

Three Beautiful Festivals[edit]

日本三大美祭り Nihon Sandai bimatsuri

The beauty list is often referenced interchangeably with the Three Great Float Festivals (日本三大曳山祭り Nihonsandai hikiyamamatsuri), which sometimes features Nagahama's Hikiyama Festival in place of the Chichibu Yomatsuri.

Three Great Obon Festivals[edit]

日本三大盆踊り Nihon Sandai Bonmatsuri

Three Great Naked Festivals[edit]

日本三大裸祭り Nihon Sandai Hadakamatsuri

Some lists replace the Konomiya Naked Festival with the Hadakabo Festival in Hofu, Yamaguchi or the Furukawa Festival in Hida, Gifu.

Three Great Fireworks[edit]

日本三大花火 Nihon Sandai Hanabi

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 Sankotō

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.

Kusatsu Onsen

Three Baths of Oshu[edit]

奥州三名湯 Oshu Sanmeiyu


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. To further confuse things, there is a "Top 5 Inari Shrines" (五大稲荷) list that doesn't contain any shrines in the "Top 3" list

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


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


Mount Fuji
Osugi Gorge
Akiyoshido Cave, the largest in Japan
Kegon Falls
Mount Moriyoshi in Kitaakita
Yamataka Jindai-zakura
Kitakami Tenshochi in Kitakami

Three Famous Mountains[edit]

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

Top Three Gorges[edit]

三大渓谷 Sandai Keikoku

Three Caves[edit]

日本三大鍾乳洞 Niho Sandai-shōnyūdō

Three Waterfalls[edit]

日本三名瀑 Nihon San-meibaku

Three Pine Groves[edit]

三大松原 Sandai-matsubara

Three Snow Monsters[edit]

三大樹氷 Sandai-juhyo

Certain mountains in northern Japan have the right trees and weather conditions to cover the trees completely in snow to transform them into Juhyo (樹氷) or "Snow Monsters" (also sometimes called "Ice Monsters" in Japanese). These sites were chosen because they feature a good number of snow monsters along with having a ski lift for easy access.

Cherry Blossom Spots[edit]

三大桜名所 Sandai Sakura Meisho

Cherry Blossom Trees[edit]

三大桜 Sandai-zakura

Cherry Blossom Spots of Tohoku[edit]

みちのく三大桜名所 Michinoku Sandai Sakura-meisho

"Michinoku" is a term used to refer to the Tohoku Region. Traditionally, it excludes Akita and Yamagata Prefectures but over time has become synonymous with the entire region as demonstrated by the presence of Kakunodate in Akita Prefecture on this list.

Night Cherry Blossoms[edit]

三大夜桜 Sandai-yozakura


Vine bridge, Iya Valley
Kurashiki's Historic District
Chinatown, Yokohama

Three Hidden Regions[edit]

三大秘境 Sandaihikkyō

Three Sake Towns[edit]


Three Historic Merchant Towns[edit]


Three Lacquerware Towns[edit]


Three Chinatowns[edit]

三大中華街 Sandai-chūkagai


Kitakata Ramen
Sanuki Udon


三大そば Sandai-soba'


三大ラーメン Sandai-raamen


三大うどん Sandai-udon


三大和牛 Sandai-wagyu

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

See also[edit]

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.