The Three Views of Japan

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The 日本三景 (Nihon Sankei, Three Views of Japan) are the sights deemed most scenic in all of Japan. They are:

The Matsushima Islands, Miyagi Prefecture

English Site

Matsushima, literally “pine islands,” are a cluster of 260 or so tiny bodies of land covered in pine trees. Not only is this one of the Three Views of Japan, but there are 4 famous views of the Matsushima Islands: the Magnificent View (壮観 soukan), Beautiful View (麗観 reikan), Enchanting View (幽観 yuukan), and Grand View (偉観 ikan).

The Amanohashidate Sandbar, Kyoto Prefecture

By 663highland (663highland) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

By 663highland (663highland) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

English Site

This thin trip of land connects two larger landmasses across the Miyazu Bay and is home to over 7,000 pine trees.

Itsukushima Shrine, Hiroshima Prefecture

By 東京太郎 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By 東京太郎 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

English Site

If you’ve seen one cultural photo of Japan, chances are it was Kiyomizudera in Kyoto or this shrine on Miyajima island. Itsukushima is the only one of the Three Views that is also designated as a Special Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site.


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