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For many centuries, the people of Japan have been designating the best and most beautiful places and events in their country: there are Japan's top three gardens, Kyoto's top five Zen temples, Japan's top three festivals featuring floats, Kamakura's top ten wells and countless other rankings.

Most famous among the many designations are probably Japan's three most scenic places (nihon sankei). Selected several centuries ago, they consist of Matsushima, Miyajima and Amanohashidate:

While the urban and touristic development of more recent decades may not have enhanced the scenic beauty of Matsushima, Miyajima and Amanohashidate, the three spots remain outstanding sights today.

Miyajima, in particular, stands high on our list of Japan's best attractions, while the less easily accessible Amanohashidate and Matsushima are certainly worth a detour, too, if you are in the region and have the time.

Page last updated: December 12, 2003