The Three Views of Japan

During my time in Hiroshima I also visited Miyajima (宮島, “shrine island”). Even if you don’t know the name, you’ve likely seen a picture of the most famous thing there: A huge Torii, standing in the water at high tide and just a one minute walk away from the coast at low tide. It is probably the most famous of the “Three Views of Japan” (日本三景), an ancient list of the most beautiful places in Japan. I took the photo a little after sunset.

Big Torii standing in the sea after sunset

Matsushima (松島, “pine tree islands”), another of the “Three Views”, is a bay full of islands with pine trees, although I wonder how much of it (or the town with the same name) is left after the tsunami. I’ve seen pictures from the surrounding area (eastern Sendai, Higashimatsushima and Ishinomaki) that looked really bad. Matsushima is very close to Sendai, so I actually went there two times: End of December last year, and on New Year’s Day.

A tree and some bushes in the foreground, islands in the middle and a lot of light to the right

Currently I am staying in Kyoto, and from there I took a two-hour train ride to Amanohashidate (天橋立, meaning something like “bridge to heaven”). Amanohashidate is the third of the “Three Views”: A long sandbank on which pine trees are growing. The look reminded me a lot of Matsushima, but it is quieter, I suppose because it is not as easily reachable as Miyajima and Matsushima.

Waves rolling onto a beach, long row of pine trees in the background, cloudy sky.

As you can see, I’ve been taking my own advice (see the Hiroshima article) to travel around Japan, but the travel will be over soon: Tohoku University will start the new semester on April 25th, and I will go back to Sendai in time for that.

3 thoughts on “The Three Views of Japan

  1. I like your Miyajima photo A LOT and have it as my desktop background now. Too bad that my desktop is usually cluttered with windows!

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