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The Japanese have long had a fondness for categorizing impressive features of the world around them into numbered lists. And in this enterprise, trios hold particular fascination. Thus, in addition to the Three Great Festivals and the Three Great Night Views, among well over 100 prestigious triads are the Three Top Ramen Noodle Dishes, the Three Top Karst Topographies and the Three Top Poisonous Creatures.

But in this Japanese world of threesomes, most celebrated by far are the Three Most Scenic Places (Nihon sankei), as designated around 1643 by a neo-Confucian scholar, teacher and government administrator named Hayashi Gaho.

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