In October 2015, the only domestic business organization in night view tourism, YAKEI（Night view）Convention & Visitors Bureau, organized a vote by certified night view experts around Japan with the aim of stimulating domestic and international night-viewing tourism. The night views that received votes were sorted by city, and the top three cities were chosen according to those point totals as “Japan’s New Three Most Spectacular Night Views.” In recent years, the night view tourism environment has been undergoing rapid changes, so the same certification brand is expected to renew these rankings three years from now.
Certification organization: YAKEI（Night view）Convention & Visitors Bureau Official Homepage
It is not entirely clear when and by whom the “Japan’s Three Most Spectacular Night Views” and the “Three Cities with the Most Spectacular Night Views in the World” brands were established. Upon searching for the answer, one might stumble across the common belief that this took place during the period of rapid economic growth in the 1950s and 1960s in Japan. Some say that when this growth prompted a boom in domestic tourism, travel agencies spread these two brands as they created products. However, this too is uncertain. In any case, it has now been 50 years since those times. Japan’s night views have undergone tremendous shifts and we are bringing the “Most Spectacular Night Views” brand into a new age.
After Monaco, Hong Kong and Nagasaki were certified as the “New Three Cities with the Most Spectacular Night Views in the World” in 2012 at the Night View Summit 2012 in Nagasaki, Japan, Nagasaki’s Mt. Inasa Ropeway, which had once nearly gone out of business, went on to achieve a remarkable increase in the number of registered visitors. The “New Three Cities with the Most Spectacular Night Views in the World” brand has had huge economic benefits such as the economic effect of creating over 15 billion yen in a single year via Nagasaki City’s night view.
Furthermore, in 2015, as a new Japanese brand with the goal of disseminating and expanding the revitalization of night view tourism both domestically and internationally, the “Japan’s New Three Most Spectacular Night Views” brand was born. And from this too, each selected city benefited from receiving more visitors. Recertification is held once every three years, and thus in 2018, the newly-chosen “Japan’s New Three Most Spectacular Night Views” were announced.
Questionnaires were collected from night view appreciation experts across Japan (individuals certified through the Night View Appreciation Examination), to select the cities ranked first to third as “The New Three Japanese Cities with the Most Spectacular Night Views.” The final city rankings were determined by the total number of points earned. With those results, the top three cities certified as “The New Three Japanese Cities with the Most Spectacular Night Views,” also known as “Japan’s New Three Most Spectacular Night Views,” were announced. The top three cities and their rankings according to the voting are as follows below.
The unique basin-shaped landscape encircling Nagasaki Bay, locally known as “Crane Bay,” ensures that panoramic night views can be appreciated from various directions such as from Mt. Inasa, Mt. Nabekanmuri, and Kazagashira Park. Excellent night-viewing facilities are available at each viewing point, and visitors can enjoy the breathtaking night views. Other than the numerous attractions such as the Oura Cathedral, Dejima, Megami Bridge and Megane Bridge, there are also many night events such as the renowned Nagasaki Lantern Festival that attracts over one million spectators each year. And what’s more, the city actively strives to maintain both soft and hard infrastructure and facilities for tourism with initiatives such as preparing websites and pamphlets introducing night views, and night view navigator activities, etc. In 2012 when Hong Kong, Monaco and Nagasaki were certified as the “New Three Cities with the Most Spectacular Night Views in the World,” the number of tourists visiting to experience these sights grew rapidly. Those cities accelerated their efforts by increasing the number of light displays and renovating their existing displays, etc. Even now, Nagasaki is constantly developing its night view brand as the number of Japanese and international tourists continues to grow.
As the city has developed, the idea of “cities with beautiful night views” in domestic and international tourism has also undergone a dramatic shift. There are of course the highly competitive cities in the Hokkaido region such as Hakodate and Muroran which have made dramatic strides with their night views in recent years, as well as the introduction of the certification of Japan’s New Three Most Spectacular Night Views through a system where cities throughout the country vie for the honor. Various viewpoints for enjoying panoramic views such as the 531m-tall Mt. Moiwa, Mt. Okura (307m), JR Tower (160 m) and Sapporo TV Tower, etc., are also available. Many of the tourists here share their awe at the sights and the charm of the city night views of this largest expanse of land in Hokkaido with a population of two million, calling it “a carpet of lights” and “a glittering jewelry box.” The pioneering light display that is a winter tradition here, the “Sapporo White Illumination,” and the “Sapporo Snow Festival”, etc., are nighttime events that attract tourists from around the world and conjure up images of city night views. Every year Sapporo gains more fans as a city worth experiencing at night.
Countless cities were considered when ultimately choosing the city to be ranked as third in all of Japan. The selecting body took advantage of the recent boom in the popularity of factory night views and considered the products being continuously created alongside their various promotional efforts as part of their judging criteria. Plus, the richness of light displays such as Kokura Illumination and Wakato Bridge Light Up have also improved the popularity and charm of this city. Kitakyushu was also able to move up in the national ranks due to the combined impact of its various appealing points such as Mt. Sarakura, Mt. Takato, Adachi Park and the Mojiko Retro Observation Room, among others.