While there is no shortage of things to do at night, many of Japan’s densely packed cities are close to mountains, providing a smorgasbord of spectacular night views. Here are three of the most beautiful ones, collectively known as Three Major Night Views of Japan (Nihon Sandai Yakei).
Mount Hakodate, with an altitude of 334m, is located in the southwest part of the city of Hakodate in Hokkaido. To reach the summit in order to enjoy a view, which the Michelin Green Guide has given 3 stars to, you can hike it, bike it or go by ropeway cable car-which takes three minutes. There are also buses running to and from the top but it is best to avoid trying to go up by car as the roads get closed each day to prevent heavy traffic during peak viewing times.
From the summit you will get a spectacular view of the city sandwiched between the waters of Hakodate Bay and the Tsugaru Strait. It’s beautiful at any time of the year but it’s world-class reputation means that it is highly unlikely you will ever have the observatory deck to yourself. This is especially true thirty minutes after the sun sets, which is said to be the best time to look out over the city below.
Mount Maya is one of the highest peaks of the Rokko Mountains, with an altitude of 702m, and is located on the north side of the city of Kobe, in Hyogo prefecture. The spot is incredibly popular with tourists and this means that getting to the top is very easy. You can go on foot if you’re feeling fit, but for the less energetic take the cable car and ropeway, or even a bus, to give you quicker access to the stunning view.
the ‘Ten Million Dollar Night View’
It has been christened the ‘Ten Million Dollar Night View’ as you can see both Osaka and Kobe and that number is a reference to the cost of lighting these two cities. Not surprisingly the dazzling beauty of the view has made it a very popular romantic spot so you can expect to see couples embracing at the observatory deck.
Mount Inasa rises 333m and is located on the west side of the Nagasaki harbor. The best way to enjoy this view is in the glass-paneled gondola that usually carries sightseers. Unfortunately, the ropeway is closed for renovations until February 2016, but buses run every hour from Nagasaki Station up to the top, or you can take a taxi if you don’t want to wait. From the observatory platform at the summit you can marvel at the light show that is Nagasaki and its picturesque harbor.
The difference with this member of Japan’s ‘best night views club’ is that it’s not as spread out, but more compact, giving you the impression that you are much closer to the action. It’s beauty has also been recognized globally by the “Night View Summit”. In 2012, it was listed with Hong Kong and Monaco as one of “Three New Great Night Views of the World”, in addition to being one of Japan’s best three night views.
Three Incredible Night Views In Japan
NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR