Nihon Sankei (日本三景)

Nihon Sankei means the three most scenic spots of Japan.


Nihon Sankei refers to the following three scenic spots (each number corresponds to the number of image shown above.)
All of them are scenery of sea (coast) and have been made into poems and painted in paintings.

Matsushima: Archipelago centering on Matsushima-machi, Miyagi County, Miyagi Prefecture
Amanohashidate: Sand spit existing in Miyazu City, Kyoto Prefecture
Itsukushima (Miyajima): Island centering on Itsukushima-jinja Shrine existing in Hatsukaichi City, Hiroshima Prefecture

In the early Edo period in 1643, Gaho HAYASHI, a Confusian scholar, wrote in his book "Nihonkoku Jisekiko (literally, 'review on things in Japan'),"as 'Matsushima: Other than this island, there are many small island and the scenery with moons and waves is very good and forms three scenic spots together with Amanohashidate in Tango Province and Itsukushima in Aki Province.'
This is deemed as the origin of the grouping 'Nihon Sankei.'

After that in 1689, Ekiken KAIBARA, a Confusian scholar, wrote in his book "Kishi Kiko (literally, 'travel in the year of Kishi')"(travel in Tango, Tanba Province and Wakasa Province), as "it is reasonable to name Amanohashidate as one of three scenic spots in Japan "in the section referring to travel in Amanohashidate. This is deemed as the first appearance of the words 'Nihon Sankei' in literature and it is inferred that 'Nihon Sankei' was well-known grouping even before Kaibara's visit.

When Nihon Sankei is likened to Setsugekka (snow, moon and flower), 'snow' is assigned to Amanohashidate, 'moon' to Matsushima and 'flower' to Miyajima deeming autumnal leaf coloration as flower.

Situations in recent years

The annual number of visitors for sightseeing in recent years is approximately 3,700 thousands (6,220 thousands for total Matsushima including Okumatsushima, Shiogama and so on), approximately 3,090 thousands for Miyajima (5,620 thousands for total Hatsukaichi City including opposite shore) and approximately 2,670 thousands for Amanohashidate (approximately 3,710 thousands for the total of Miyazu City and Yosano-cho which face Aso-kai [inland sea]).

As kankotaishi (literally, ambassador for sightseeing), Matsushima has 'Matsushima campaign lady,' Amanohashidate has 'Princess of Amanohashidate' and Miyajima has 'Miyajima sightseeing and goodwill ambassador,' and they play an active role together on the occasion of joint campaign for Nihon Sankei and so on.

Each of Nihon Sankei tries to have itself registered to World Heritage, but, so far, they have not been registered except Itsukushima-jinja Shrine (registered).

In July 2006, Nihon Sankei Kanko Renraku Kyogikai (literally, consultitative meeting for sightseeing information exchange for Nihon Sankei) organized by Amanohashidate, Matsushima and Miyajima set up Nihon Sankei's Day to July 21 which is the birthday of Shunsai HAYASHI.

In April 2007, Michelin's practical guidebook for travelling (MICHELIN Voyager Pratique Japon) was published for foreign sightseers who visit Japan. This is a collaboration as a part of 'Visit Japan campaign' by Michelin company, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and so on. Among Nihon Sankei, Matsushima and Miyajima are described as independent items and each ranked three triple-star.

In March 2009, Michelin's sightseeing guidebook (MICHELIN Green Guide Japon) for foreign sightseers was published with cooperation by Japan National Tourism Organization. Among Nihon Sankei, Matsushima and Miyajima are described as independent items. Matsushima obtained 31 stars in total, three triple-star, four double-star and eight single-star, 25 in total for Matsushima Kaigan (Matsushima seashore) region and for Shiogama region three double-star, six in total. Miyajima obtained 17 stars in total, three triple-star, two double-star and three single-star. It is planned to publish English version in September 2009.

Onsen (hot spring) and reisen (cold spring)

Although Nihon Sankei has high awareness, each region has been suffering from decrease in the number of overnight guests. As one of measures to solve the problem, movement to develop hot spring which none of Nihon Sankei has so far started in recent years.

In Amanohashidate, Amanohashidate hot spring was opened on December 20, 1999.
Its buzzword is 'kamigami no asobiyu (literally, hot spring for gods' play).'
At present, there are nine hotels, two minshuku (private home that runs inn providing room and board) and one sotoyu (an external hot spring bath) which utilize the hot spring (two among them are mineral spring). Spring quality is chloride spring, simple hot spring and so on.

In Miyajima, there was a bath where heated cold spring was used, but it was discontinued because of public sewer work thirty years ago. In 2004, cold spring was revived by boring. At present, three hotels supply hot water by heating cold spring.. Spring quality is radioactive spring.

In Matsushima, Matsushima hot spring (Miyagi Prefecture) opened on August 5, 2008 in line with Sendai Miyagi destination campaign.
Its buzzword is 'Taiko Tensen (literally, ancient hot spring of heaven).'
Spring quality is chloride spring and simple hot spring.


Words by Shunsai HAYASHI are inscribed on monuments of each scenic spot, the orders of introduction are different for each monument. Own spot is placed at the top like 'Matsushima, Amanohashidate and Itsukushima' in Matsushima which follows the order from east as described in original literature in Matsushima, 'Itsukushima, Amanohashidate and Matsushima' in Itsukushima, which follows the order from the west, and 'Amanohashidate, Matsushima and Itsukushima' in Amanohashidate.

New Nihon Sankei

In 1915, following Nihon Sankei, Jitsugyo no Nihon sha, Ltd. hosted selection of new Nihon Sankei. As the result of nationwide polling, the following three places were chosen.

Onuma (Nanae-cho)(poroto): A dammed lake existing in Nanae-cho, Kameda County, Hokkaido Prefecture. It benefits from the scenery of Mt. Komagatake, Hokkaido.

Mihonomatsubara: Sand spit existing in Shimizu Ward, Shizuoka City, Shizuoka Prefecture
It benefits from the scenery of Mt. Fuji and Izu Peninsula.

Yabakei: Valley existing in Nakatsu City, Oita Prefecture

[Original Japanese]