Three New Places for Your Bucket List!
Japan is a beautiful country, with gorgeous mountains and lush forests, not to mention miles and miles of rocky beaches. But these particular spots are known in Japanese as the Nihon Sankei (日本三景), or Three Views of Japan. Chosen by a scholar back in 1643, and popular among locals and tourists alike, they're all still worth a visit!
1. Matsushima, Miyagi Prefecture
- Near the metropolitan area of Sendai, in Miyagi Prefecture, Matsushima is famous for its many islands. More than 260 islands large and small are scattered throughout the area, and blanketed in swathes of pine trees.
Cross the famous red-lacquered Fukuurabashi Bridge to arrive at Fukuura Island. If you're single and looking for a partner, crossing the 820 ft bridge alone is supposed to bring you some good luck in that department.
The area around Matsushima is not just famous for the scenery, however. Date Masamune dominated the area in the 16th and 17th centuries, and founded what is now Sendai City. His heirs were powerful daimyos in the region long after his death.
Additionally, beef tongue is a delicacy here, and a particular specialty! The tongue's unique texture draws visitors from all over; it's worth a try!
2. Amanohashidate, Kyoto Prefecturea
- This beautiful road naturally takes a path right across the water, with 8,000 pines planted along the 2 mile stretch. The sandbar takes its name from how it seems to stretch right into the sky, making it a "bridge to heaven." Get there in just a couple hours by train from Kyoto Station.
High above the famous sandbar road is a popular viewing spot. Many people arrive at Amanohashidate with just one goal in mind: to see the view from between their legs. This pose, where you bend over and look at the world upside down through your legs, is called matanozoki (股覗き) in Japanese. From this angle, the sea looks like the sky, and the sky the sea!
3. Itsukushima Shrine, Miyajima, Hiroshima Prefecture
- Itsukushima Shrine, located on Miyajima Island in Hiroshima, is dedicated to the gods of the sea. So it's no wonder the torii, or shrine gate, is planted right in the sand— and during high tide, in the water! As a gate between the realm of the gods and the world of humans, it's certainly an apt location. During low tide, you can walk out onto the wet sand and take a closer look. It's truly a beautiful sight at all times of day, but especially at sunset!
While you're in Hiroshima, the Atomic Bomb Dome and Peace Memorial Museum are definitely worth a visit. And while Osaka-style okonomiyaki is probably more common country-wide, Hiroshima okonomiyaki is a unique dish that holds a special place in many Japanese people's hearts! After a long day of sightseeing on the beach and in museums, you're going to enjoy it.
Beautiful Places Create Beautiful Memories
These three spots in Japan each have their own special charm, and they are especially famous among the citizens of Japan. As a whole, though, Japan is full of scenic places where you can relax and take it all in. If you're looking for more to see around the country, maybe try a road trip around Kyushu
, or Tochigi
. Or if you're looking for a more intense experience, next time try climbing Mount Tsukuba
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