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UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan

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UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan

In 1992, Japan gained acceptance into the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization also known as UNESCO. In order to become a World Heritage site a committee decides which mandates are deemed worthy to be inducted. The World Heritage Committee, which makes the decision, consists of 21 committee members represented by 21 States Parties to the World Heritage Convention. The current States Parties are from Algeria, Columbia, Croatia, Finland, Germany, India, Jamaica, Japan, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Sengal, Serbia, Turkey and Viet Nam. Since then, Japan has participated in the World Heritage Committee, which allowed numerous sites in Japan to have been inducted through the World Heritage Convention. There are a total of 19 sites inscribed into the World Heritage list that is broken down into two categories of Cultural or Natural.

Throughout the history of Japan there are places that have impacted their culture and society. These sites serve as a reminder of the evolution that Japan has undergone. Under the cultural list the Buddhist Monuments in the Horyuji, Fujisan or Mt. Fuji, Gusuku Sites, Himeji-Jo, Hiraizumi, Hiroshima Peace Memorial, historic monuments of Ancient Kyoto and Nara, historic villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama, Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, Pilgrimage routes in the Kii Mountain, Shrines and temples of Nikko, sites of the Meiji Industrial revolution, Tomioka Silk Mill, and Gunkanjima are the places that have made a mark on Japan’s culture.

photo of The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Chubu | Gifu | Shirakawa-go

The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and are best known for their Gassho style houses.

photo of Historic Monuments and Sites of Hiraizumi

Tohoku | Iwate | Hiraizumi

Historic Monuments and Sites of Hiraizumi

Hiraizumi in the southwestern part of Iwate Prefecture is a town extending up the Hiraizumi Hill on the west bank of the Kitakami-gawa River.

photo of The Shrines and Temples of Nikko

Kanto | Tochigi | Nikko

The Shrines and Temples of Nikko

The Shrines and Temples of Nikko were inscribed into the UNESCO World Heritage Site back in 1999.

photo of The Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara

Kansai | Nara | Nara City

The Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara

Todaiji, Kofukuji, Kasuga Shrine, Gangoji, Yakushiji, Toshodaiji, and Nara Palace were inscribed as Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara.

photo of Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto

Kansai | Kyoto | Kyoto City

Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto

The Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto was inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1994.

photo of Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range

Kansai | Wakayama | Mt Koya (Koyasan)

Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range

In 2004 Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range were inscribed in World Heritage list for Japan.

photo of Himeji Castle

Kansai | Hyogo | Himeji

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle is one of the twelve original castles in Japan and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is one of the best examples of a preserved castle ground.

photo of Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine

Chugoku | Shimane | Iwami Ginzan

Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine

The Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine was once one of the top silver producing mines in the world. This old silver mine is now a major tourist attraction that brings many visitors each year.

photo of Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu

Okinawa Islands | Okinawa | Naha

Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu

A combination of sites designated as UNESCO World Heritage in the year 2000 located at Okinawa.

photo of Horyuji Temple

Kansai | Nara | Nara City

Horyuji Temple

Horyuji temple is part of the “Seven Great Temples of Nara” and the oldest wooden structures in the world can be found in this area.

photo of Itsukushima Shrine

Chugoku | Hiroshima | Miyajima Island

Itsukushima Shrine

The Itsukushima Shrine is best known for its floating torii gate, which is built in the sea.

photo of Fujisan, Sacred Place and Source of Artistic Inspiration

Chubu | Yamanashi | Mt Fuji

Fujisan, Sacred Place and Source of Artistic Inspiration

Fujisan, Sacred Place and Source of Artistic Inspiration refers to the 25 places designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

photo of Gunkanjima

Kyushu | Nagasaki | Nagasaki

Gunkanjima

An abandoned island which was once the highest populated areas in Japan with a large coal mining facility designated as an UNESCO World Heritage site in 2015.

photo of Tomioka Silk Mill

Kanto | Gunma | Tomioka

Tomioka Silk Mill

Tomioka Silk Mill is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that impacted the industrial age in Japan.

photo of Hiroshima Genbaku Dome

Chugoku | Hiroshima | Hiroshima City

Hiroshima Genbaku Dome

A designated UNESCO World Heritage Site dedicated towards peace to the tragic atomic bomb which was dropped in Hiroshima on August 6th 1945

In the Natural category the Ogasawara Islands, Shirakami-Sanchi, Shiretoko and Yukushima were inducted because of their unique and undisturbed habitats. Not only are these places beautiful, but provide a scientific perspective into ecosystems that are becoming rare. By protecting these places people around the world can witness and see a wilderness thriving without restriction. There are also various endangered species that can be found in the different locations, such as the red-crowned crane and the red fox in Hokkaido.

photo of Shiretoko - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Hokkaido | Shiretoko

Shiretoko - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Shiretoko is a new heritage site just registered in 2005 The area features an ecological system with few equals in the world.

photo of Shirakami-sanchi Mountain Range

Tohoku | Aomori | Shirakami Mountains

Shirakami-sanchi Mountain Range

The vast primeval beech forest, which is home to a precious population of animals and plants, is just like a forest museum.

photo of Yakushima Island - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Kyushu | Kagoshima | Yakushima Island

Yakushima Island - UNESCO World Heritage Site

A subtropical island located off the southern coast of Kagoshima Prefecture is famous for its 1000 year old trees of Japan.

photo of Ogasawara Islands - UNESCO World Heritage Site

Kanto | Tokyo | Ogasawara Islands

Ogasawara Islands - UNESCO World Heritage Site

In June 2011, the World Heritage Committee of UNESCO has inscribed Ogasawara Islands on the World Heritage List as a Natural Heritage site.