Travel

Top 3 Night Views in Japan

Japan loves lists, so it’s not a surprise that you’ll find lists for almost everything.
For visitors this is perfect as it saves a lot of work! There are the “Top 3 Views of Japan“, “Top 3 Gardens in Japan” etc.

Today, I want to introduce the best night views in Japan according to the “official list”. They’re called “Sandaiyakei” (三大夜景, Three Great Night Views).

 

Best Night Views in Japan #1: Nagasaki – Mt. Inasa

Top 3 Night Views in Japan

From the summit (333 m) of Mt. Inasa (稲佐山) you’ll have a lovely view of Nagasaki’s waterfront area in Kyushu (map).

This photo wasn’t taken at the top of Mt. Inasa, but from Glover Garden. The view is about the same, just that you’re even higher above the ocean. I just don’t have any good night shots from the top of Mt. Inasa, but Wikipedia has.

Access to Mt. Inasa:

Mt. Inasa can be reached by ropeway.

Alternatively you can go up by taxi (~ 15 mins, 2000 yen) from Nagasaki Station or by bus (1-2 per hour, 15 mins, 150 yen). If you take the bus, you’ll still have to walk for about 15 mins to reach the observation platform.

 

Best Night Views in Japan #2: Kobe – Mt. Maya

Top 3 Night Views in Japan

The night view from the top (698 m) of Mt. Maya (摩耶山) is called “Ten Million Dollar Night View” (1000万ドルの夜景, Issenmandoru no yake).

Mt. Maya is part of the Rokko Mountains in Kobe, Hyogo Prefecture (map). From the three night view locations introduced in this article, this is probably the easiest to access as it can be done as an evening trip from Osaka.

I’m sorry for the crappy photo quality, but it’s really a breathtaking sight. You can see Kobe and Osaka Bay.

Access to Mt. Maya:

There are many options. You could even walk from Shin-Kobe Station!
Most people will probably use the Maya Cable Car. The cable car station can be reached by Kobe City Bus #18.

 

Best Night Views in Japan #3: Hakodate – Mt. Hakodate

Top 3 Night Views in Japan

The night view from the summit (334 m) of Mt. Hakodate (函館山) probably impressed me the most because of the unique shape of the peninsula on which most of central Hakodate is located (Hokkaido, map).

Access to Mt. Hakodate:

You can reach the top of Mt. Hakodate by ropeway, bus or taxi.

More details and photos can be found in my blog post about Mount Hakodate.

 

Other Great Night Views in Japan:

What I just introduced were the original great night views in Japan.

They’ve recently added the “New Three Great Night Views in Japan” (新三大夜景 Shinsandaiyakei) including Mt. Sarakura (Kitakyushu), Mt. Wakakusa (Nara) and Fuefuki River Fruit Park (Yamanashi).

I cannot say anything about these night views as I haven’t been there after dark. Maybe some of you have?

Japan has a lot of great night views, I especially love those where you have a huge lake or even the ocean in the foreground.
I remember I enjoyed the night view from Miyajima and from Mt. Fuji a lot as well.

What’s your favorite night view in Japan?
Let me know in the comments below!~ emoticon

17 Comments

  • I kinda liked the night views from the Metropolitan Government Building in Tokyo and the Tsutenkaku in Osaka. The first one has all those cool skyscrapers nearby which looks really great and I can’t say what was great about Tsutenkaku, but I remember really liking it. Tokyo Tower is a bit too much of the same, not much really standing on in my opinion. It’s great during the day, but not so great at night.

    Ah, the Landmark Tower in Yokohama has a beautiful view of Minato Mirai. That whole part looks great at night even from the ground, but it seems to be a great night view you have to be off the ground? :)

    • The one from the Metropolitan building in Tokyo was one of my first night views of Japan EVER and I remember how impressed I was. I think I almost cried. (^-^”)
      Night views of Tokyo are always awesome, but I love extraordinary stuff like the shape of the peninsula you can see from Mt. Hakone. ;)
      Speaking of Osaka, I think I really liked the night landscape viewed from the top of Umeda Building a lot, too.

      Not been up to the Landmark Tower in Yokohama yet, but been in the area at night a few times. Of course, it’s a bit similar to Hakodate, Nagasaki and Kobe for obvious reasons, but for some reason Yokohama comes always last on my list when I compare these. ^^;;

  • Unsurprisingly I always completely disagree with these official lists. I would put shirakawago on top for best night view. Hmm… near the top for regular best view too. The view of Osaka Castle at night, nestled amongst the skyscrapers, is also one of the best in Japan.

    Unfortunately I don’t have any of my own photos to pimp for these two views, but here are two excellent ones (especially the Osakajo photo):
    – Shirakawago: https://flic.kr/p/8szF3
    – Osaka castle cityscape: https://flic.kr/p/rwJc1c

    • The problem is that Japan has way too many awesome night views.
      I definitely LOVED the ones in the list.
      I’ve been to Shirakawago, but they didn’t do the night illumination when I was there. I agree, though, that it’s stunning. ^^
      The city scape you see from Osaka Caste is definitely nice as well, but I’m always impressed from the views I get from high above, so night views from mountains are totally my thing (yet often very chilly). *g*

      • > The problem is that Japan has way too many awesome night views

        Correction: The problem is that Japan has way too many awesome views, period. You have been far more successful than I at seeing many of them, but even so… I’d wager seeing all of them would be impossible for one life (at least for us poor 99% who actually have to work for a living). Hmm…. there is my new goal… being filthy rich and not working for a living! Oh, and seeing all of Japan too. :P

        • Sounds like a great plan! Can I join?♪

          I agree. It’s probably impossible to see it all in one life although at some point I had the feeling I could do it. *g*
          But then you ALWAYS encounter new things … it’s an endless story, really. ^^;

  • It’s a regret you didn’t have good shot from Mt Inasa. Personally, I feel the view from Glover Garden is not quite the same because they are at extreme side of the city, something like viewing Hong Kong’s night scene from Kowloon or Victoria Peak, we’ll still be seeing the same buildings, but the landscape makes the difference.
    Having said that, the view from Mt Inasa has also displaced Mt Hakodate as one of the new Three Best Night Scenes in the world. Having seen both night scenes, I must agree with you that I do prefer Mt Hakodate more because of its unique shape. I wonder what made those voters favouring Mt Inasa though.
    As for the so-called “New Three Great Night Views in Japan”, I believe it’s Japan’s gimmick in promoting tourism. Don’t get me wrong, they should still be nice, but I think it’s difficult to dislodge the current top 3.
    Anyway, you have a really great website!

    • I agree. It’s definitely to promote Japan’s tourism, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing.
      Most of the time I do not agree with those lists. I mean, they do pick great spots, but there are often even better ones.
      On the other hand, I don’t want to be in their shoes. It’s really HARD to pick “Japan’s best”. ;)

      Thank you! :3

  • I really can’t pick a favorite (yet). I’ve seen Nagasaki from Mt. Inasa and that was brilliant. I loved the contrast between the bright lights of the city and the sheer darkness of the water. I suppose that would be even more the case in Hakodate. That’s on my todo list now by the way. ;-) I suppose Kyumizu dera temple with Kyoto in the background is also pretty nice although i still have to check it out at night. With a better camera than the one i had at Mt Inasa.

    • I’m sure you’ll love the view from Mt. Hakodate then. :D
      The night view from Kiyomizudera is nice, but completely different from the view you get from a mountain top. ^^

  • Of the three, I’ve only been to the Mt. Maya, Kobe one. It was pretty spectacular but I seem to remember the viewing area being popular with young couples with, err, their faces stuck together!

    I agree with Miurakaigan; the view from the Metropolitan towers in Shinjuku is amazing but then so is the view from pretty much any tall building in Tokyo.

    For more of a ‘grounded’ night view, I’ve always been fond of the view from Yamashita Park in Yokohama, looking towards Minato Mirai.

  • […] That night we ended up parking on Mt Hakodate in a  lay-by (the road on the mountain is actually closed to private vehicles 17:00 – 22:00 to avoid too much traffic with all the sight-seers so we were late setting up that night). The view is pretty spectacular, and is considered one of Japan’s best three night views. […]

  • […] That night we ended up parking on Mt Hakodate in a  lay-by (the road on the mountain is actually closed to private vehicles 17:00 – 22:00 to avoid too much traffic with all the sight-seers so we were late setting up that night). The view is pretty spectacular, and is considered one of Japan’s best three night views. […]