While there are places all around Japan that are incredibly popular date spot and night view lookouts, only 3 are considered to be worthy of the title “major night views”. These 3 spots are so incredible that they are called Japan’s 3 ten million dollar night views. Here are the three major night view spots in Japan!
History and Title
The concept of the Three Views of Japan (Nihon Sankei, 日本三景) was first created in 1643 by renowned scholar Hayashi Gahō, who came up with a canonical list of Japan’s three most celebrated scenic sights.
Inspired by the original list, the Jitsugyo no Nihon Sha (株式会社実業之日本社) held a national election in 1915 to determine a list of New Three Views of Japan. This election also resulted in the naming of the Three Major Night Views of Japan (Nihon Sandai Yakei, 日本三大夜景), the official list of Japan’s three most celebrated scenic night views.
These 3 spots are also called “ten-million-dollar night views” in Japan.
1. Mount Maya in Kobe City
Mount Maya (Mayasan, 摩耶山) is a 698.6m-high (2,292 ft) mountain in Kobe City, Hyōgo Prefecture. This mountain is one of the major peaks of the Rokkō Mountains, and is the most popular peak for visitors.
There are several ways to get from the bottom of Mount Maya to the top – the two most popular being Maya Cableway and Maya Ropeway. This mountain has also easy access to the foot through Okumaya Driveway. The Mount Maya area is also linked to the Kinenhidai area and the top of Mount Rokko by bus.
The ten-million-dollar-night-view is specifically the one seen from Kikuseidai (掬星台), a lookout platform just aside of the top of the mountain. The Kikuseidai lookout starts with a walking path decorated with fluorescent material which was actually designed to remind visitors of the Milky Way. On a clear night, visitors can see the entire Osaka Bay area, including Kobe, Nishinomiya, Amagasaki, Osaka, Sakai, and both of the major airports in this area – Kansai International Airport and Kobe Airport.
For more information on how to get to the Mt. Maya lookout, check out the English website here.
2. Mount Inasa in Nagasaki City
Nagasaki City has a rich history with mix of Portuguese and Christian influence and a number of breathtaking views that people can still enjoy today, especially from the top of Mount Inasa (Inasayama, 稲佐山). Mount Inasa stands 333 meters tall, and is close to the city’s center, therefore allowing the view from the Inasayama Observatory at the peak to provide a 360-degree view of Nagasaki Prefecture.
The summit of Mount Inasa can be reached by ropeway, bus or car. However, the best way to enjoy the view is to take the glass-paneled gondola ropeway up to Mount Inasa. It’s only about a 5-minute ride, but the gondola provides incredible views as you head up or down the mountain.
From the Inasayama Observatory, visitors can enjoy spectacular views of the city that also include Nagasaki Port and Bridge. At the summit, there are also restaurants with various kinds of specialty foods and souvenirs.
For more information about the Nagasaki Ropeway and Inasayama Observatory, see the English website here.
3. Mount Hakodate in Hokkaido
We saved the best for last! Though all three of the places on this list are officially called ten million dollar night views, “Michelin Green Guide: Japan” gave only the Mount Hakodate experience a perfect 3/3 stars in a review, placing it equal to the world-class mountain views of Naples and Hong Kong. This ranks the night view from Mount Hakodate as being among one of the best views in the entire world.
Interestingly enough, the city of Hakodate has made conscious efforts to further enhance the impact of the night view. Hakodate City has been installing warm orange-colored streetlights and lighting up historic buildings. These efforts have resulted in the night view having much more dimension and a full spectrum of colors compared to other cities’ night views.
Although you can reach the observation deck located atop Mount Hakodate by car or bus, Mt. Hakodate Ropeway is the recommended way to enjoy the landscape from up high. Transit to the top takes about three minutes on this aerial tramway, and restaurants with great night views and souvenir shops are available nearby. The scenic overlook is located at 334-meter elevation, making it an ideal place to view this world-class night view.
For more information on the ropeway and overlook, check out the English website here.
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