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日本 の
World Heritage
in Japan
The World Heritage in Japan
Located in the far east and surrounded on this way, each tangible and intangible heritage
four sides by the sea, Japan is blessed with is protected under appropriate protection
a rich nature, which shows a great variety measures to each category. In order to protect
throughout the seasons. In its long history, the rich nature and biological diversity of our
Japan has adopted culture from foreign land, the Nature Conservation Law and the
countries, especially from the Continent, as Natural Parks Law have been enacted.
well as developing its own culture rooted in the In addition, cultural properties and nature
sensibility nurtured by the colors of nature. are getting more accessible to people, through
Cultural Properties in Japan are preserved local activities of volunteers and NPO’s, and the
and utilized under the Law for the Protection interest in conservation activities is growing.
of Cultural Properties, as well as the cultural In line with UNESCO’s wishes, we will pass
properties protection ordinance of each local on this wonderful heritage to future generations
government, in order to contribute to the and to share it with people all over the world.
advancement of national and world culture. In

The World Heritage Convention

The World Heritage Convention (The Sites are inscribed on the World Heritage list
Convention for the Protection of the World through a process in which recommended
Cultural and Natural Heritage) was adopted in properties from each country are examined
1972 by UNESCO, and has been concluded by the World Heritage Committee, which
by 191 countries at present (2014. 6). Japan consists of 21 countries. As of June 2014, 1007
also accepted this convention in 1992, and has properties have been inscribed on the list,
contributed to the establishment of a system of of which 779 are Cultural Heritage, 197 are
international cooperation and support, based on Natural Heritage, and 31 are Mixed properties.
the recognition that it is important to protect Among them are 18 World Heritage properties
cultural and natural heritage from such threats in Japan, including 14 Cultural Heritage sites
as damage and destruction and to preserve them and 4 Natural Heritage sites.
as the world heritage of all humankind.
18 Sites in Japan World Her

1 Buddhist Monuments in the 2 Himeji-jo 3 Yakushima

Horyu-ji Area Property: 108 ha Property: 10,747 ha
Property: 15 ha Buffer Zone: 143 ha Location: KAGOSHIMA Prefecture
Buffer Zone: 571 ha Location: HYOGO Prefecture Inscribed: 1993
Inscribed: 1993 Criteria:(vii)(ix)
Location: NARA Prefecture
Criteria:(i)(iv) Located in the interior of Yakushima Island,
Inscribed: 1993
Criteria:(i)(ii)(iv)(vi) Himeji-jo is the finest surviving example at the meeting-point of the palaearctic and
There are around 48 Buddhist monuments in the o f e a rly 17t h- c e n t ur y Ja p a n e s e c a s tle oriental biotic regions, Yakushima exhibits
Horyu-ji area, in Nara Prefecture. Several date architecture, comprising 83 buildings with a rich flora, with some 1,900 species and
from the late 7th or early 8th century, making them highly developed systems of defence and subspecies, including ancient specimens of
some of the oldest surviving wooden buildings ingenious protection devices dating from the sugi(Japanese cedar). It also contains
in the world. These masterpieces of wooden the beginning of the Shogun period. It is a remnant of a warm-temperate ancient forest
architecture are important not only for the history of a masterpiece of construction in wood, that is unique in this region.
art, since they illustrate the adaptation of Chinese combining function with aesthetic appeal, both
Buddhist architecture and layout to Japanese in its elegant appearance unified by the white
culture, but also for the history of religion, since plastered earthen walls and in the subtlety of
their construction coinceded with the introduction the relationships between the building masses
of Buddhism to Japan from China by way of the and the multiple roof layers.
Korean peninsula.

10 Shrines and Temples of Nikko 11 Gusuku Sites and related 12 Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage
Property: 51 ha properties of the Kingdom of Routes in the Kii Mountain
Buffer Zone: 373 ha Ryukyu Range
Location: TOCHIGI Prefecture
Inscribed: 1999
Property: 55 ha Property: 495 ha
Criteria:(i)(iv)(vi) Buffer Zone: 560 ha Buffer Zone: 11,370 ha
Location: OKINAWA Prefecture Location: MIE Prefecture NARA Prefecture
The shrines and temples of Nikko, together
Inscribed: 2000 WAKAYAMA Prefecture
with their natural surroundings, have for Criteria:(ii)(iii)(vi) Inscribed: 2004
centuries been a sacred site known for its Criteria:(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)
architectural and decorative masterpieces. Five hundred years of Ryukyuan history
(12th-17th century)are represented by this Set in the dense forests of the Kii Mountains
They are closely associated with the history
group of sites and monuments. The ruins of overlooking the Pacific Ocean, three sacred
of the Tokugawa Shoguns. Ancient mountain
the castles, on imposing elevated sites, are sites-Yoshino and Omine, Kumano Sanzan,
worship, Buddhism, Shintoism and worship are
evidence for the social structure over much of and Koyasan-linked by pilgrimage routes to
combined, that is responsible for the unique
that period, while the sacred sites provide mute the ancient capital cities of Nara and Kyoto,
religious space.
testimony to the rare survival of an ancient reflect the fusion of Shinto, rooted in the
form of religion into the modern age. The wide- ancient tradition of nature worship in Japan,
ranging economic and cultural contacts of the and Buddhism. The sites(495.3-ha)and
Ryukyu Islands over that period gave rise to a their surrounding forest landscape reflect a
unique culture. persistent and extraordinarily well-documented
tradition of sacred mountains over 1,200 years.
ritage List

4 Shirakami-Sanchi 5 Historic Monuments of 6 Historic Villages of Shirakawa-

Property: 10,139 ha Ancient Kyoto go and Gokayama
Location: AOMORI Prefecture AKITA Prefecture  [Kyoto, Uji and Ohtsu Cities] Property: 68 ha
Inscribed: 1993 Buffer Zone: 4,335 ha
Criteria:(ix) Property: 1,056 ha
Buffer Zone: 3,579 ha Location: GIFU Prefecture TOYAMA Prefecture
Situated in the mountains of northern Honshu, Inscribed: 1995
Location: K
 YOTO Prefecture SHIGA Prefecture
this trackless site includes the last virgin Inscribed: 1994
remains of the cool-temperate forest of Criteria:(ii)(iv) Located in a mountainous region that was cut
Siebold's beech trees that once covered the off from the rest of the world for a long period of
hills and mountain slopes of northern Japan. Built in A.D.794 on the model of the capitals
time, these villages with their Gassho-style houses
The black bear, the serow and 87 species of of ancient China, Kyoto was the imperial
subsisted on the cultivation of mulberry trees and
birds can be found inthis forest. capital of Japan from its foundation until the
the rearing of silkworms. The large houses with
middle of the 19th century. As the center of
their steeply pitched thatched roofs are the only
Japanese culture for more than 1,000 years, examples of their kind in Japan. Despite economic
Kyoto illustrates the development of Japanese upheavals, the villages of Ogimachi, Ainokura and
wooden architecture, particularly religious Suganuma are outstanding examples of a traditional
architecture, and the art of Japanese gardens, way of life perfectly adapted to the environment
which has influenced landscape gardening the and people's social and economic circumstances.
world over.

13 Shiretoko 14 The Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine 15 Ogasawara Islands

Property: 34,000 ha and its Cultural Landscape Property: 7,939 ha
Buffer Zone: 37,100 ha Property: 442 ha Location: TOKYO Metropolis
Location: HOKKAIDO Prefecture Buffer Zone: 3,221 ha Inscribed: 2011
Inscribed: 2005 Criteria:(ix)
Location: SHIMANE Prefecture
Criteria:(ix)(x) Ogasawara Islands, despite their small area,
Inscribed: 2007
Shiretoko Peninsula is located in the sea Criteria:(ii)(iii)(v) show a high rate of existence of endemic
o f Ok h o t s k . Du e t o t o p o g r a p hic al a n d The property exhibits universal outstanding species identified only in this area, and
geographical conditions, the sea of Okhotsk value as the site of the silver mine that providing precious evidence of adaptive
is the most southern(lowest latitude)ocean produced a large amount of silver in the r a d i a t i o n i n t h e p r o c e s s o f e v o lu t i o n ,
in the world as a seasonal sea ice area. 16th and 17th c enturie s, trig g er e d the particularly in snails and vascular plants.
Influenced by the formation of the seasonal mass production of gold and silver in Japan
sea ice, Shiretoko is an outstanding example through the spread of its mining techniques
o f an int e gr a t e d e c o s y s t em displa ying to other mines throughout Japan, and exerted
the interrelationship between a terrestrial significant influence upon the history of the
ecosystem and a contiguous marine exchange of goods and communications
ecosystem. among civilizations, not only between the
Also, the site contains a diverse fauna and nations of East Asia but also between East
flora because of the complex topography and and West, reaching as far as Europe.
the differences in weather conditions between
the east and west sides of the peninsula.
It is an important breeding or wintering site
for globally threatened bird species such as
Blakiston's fish-owl.
7 Hiroshima Peace Memorial 8 Itsukushima Shinto Shrine 9 Historic Monuments of
[Genbaku Dome] Property: 431 ha Ancient Nara
Property: 0.39 ha Buffer Zone: 2,634 ha Property: 617 ha
Buffer Zone: 43 ha Location: HIROSHIMA Prefecture Buffer Zone: 1,963 ha
Inscribed: 1996
Location: HIROSHIMA Prefecture Location: NARA Prefecture
Inscribed: 1996 Inscribed: 1998
Criteria:(vi) The island of Itsukushima, in the Seto inland Criteria:(ii)(iii)(iv)(vi)
The Hiroshima Peace Memorial(Genbaku sea, has been a holy place of Shintoism since Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to
Dome)was the only structure left standing in the earliest times. The first shrine buildings 784. During this period the framework of
the area where the first atomic bomb exploded here were probably erected in the 6th century. national government was consolidated and
on 6 August 1945. Through the efforts of The present shrine dates from the 13th century Nara enjoyed great prosperity, emerging as the
many people, including those of the city of and the harmoniously arranged buildings reveal fountainhead of Japanese culture. The city's
Hiroshima, it has been preserved in the same great artistic and technical skill. The shrine historic monuments-Buddhist temples, Shinto
state as immedeately after the bombing. plays on the contrasts in colour and form shrines and the excavated remains of the great
Not only is it a stark and powerful symbol of between mountains and sea and illustrates the Imperial Palace-Provide a vivid picture of life
the most destructive force ever created by Japanese concept of scenic beauty, which in the Japanese capital in the 8th century,
humankind, it also expresses the hope for combines nature and human creativity. a period of profound political and cultural
world peace and the ultimate elimination of all change.
nuclear weapons.

16 Hiraizumi 17 Fujisan, sacred place and 18 Tomioka Silk Mill and Related
Temples, Gardens and Archeological source of artistic inspiration Sites
Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure
Property: 20,702 ha Property: 7.2 ha
land Buffer Zone: 49,627 ha Buffer Zone: 414.6 ha
Property: 187 ha Location: YAMANASHI Prefecture SHIZUOKA Location: GUNMA Prefecture
Buffer Zone: 5,998 ha Prefecture Inscribed: 2014
Location: IWATE Prefecture Inscribed: 2013 Criteria:(ii)(iv)
Inscribed: 2011 Criteria:(iii)(vi)
“Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites”consists of
Criteria:(ii)(vi) Fujisan is a sacred and solemn figure, a holy four sites that correspond to the different stages
“Hiraizumi”is a striking case of creation and aimed place to which people make pilgrimages ─ in the production of raw silk: the first-ever silk
to realize the special expression of Buddhaksetra from the foot of the mountain to its summit. mill in Japan (Tomioka Silk Mill), the prototype
(Pure Land)in the real world based on Japanese This devotion gave birth to the cherished idea of modern sericulture farmhouses (Tajima Yahei
Buddhism , thought of pure land grown from it in that“Fujisan”is believed to have gained the Sericulture Farm), the sericulture educational facility
particular, which had been endowed with unique supernatural power of Shinto and Buddhist (Takayama-sha Sericulture School), and the cold
Japanese characteristics fused with ancient deities, and represents“symbolic death and storage facility for silk-worm eggs (Arafune Cold
Japanese thought of nature worship, from the 6th spiritual rebirth,”where one dies and is reborn. Storage). These sites have worldwide significance
century when Buddhism was introduced from China Fujisan has also been depicted in many works as a place for technical exchange and innovation in
and the Korean Peninsula to the 12th century. the silkworm-raising and silk-reeling industries. This
of art, such as Ukiyo-e paintings, and has had
“Hiraizumi”is a prominent representation of property was inscribed on the World Heritage List
a profound effect on numerous foreign artists.
important human interaction in the sense of values because it illustrates how Japan played a prominent
Fujisan ─ sacred place and source of artistic
as to design concept and design drafting of role in the world's raw-silk market in the beginning
architecture and horticulture in East Asia as well as
inspiration ─ is highly appreciated and valued
of the 20th Century, based on mass production of
showing important steps of human history in these worldwide.
high-quality raw silk realized by the contribution of
fields. these four sites that functioned together effectively.
C riteria for the assessment of outstanding universal
(Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage
Convention II.D)

77. The Committee considers a property as having outstanding

Map of
universal value(see paragraphs 49-53)if the property meets
one or more of the following criteria. Nominated properties shall
(i) represent a masterpiece of human creative genius;
exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span
of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments
World Heritage
in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or
landscape design;
(iii) bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural
tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has
in Japan
(iv) be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural
or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates(a)
significant stage(s)in human history;
(v) be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement,
land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture(or
cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially
when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible
change; 13
(vi) be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions,
with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of
outstanding universal significance.(The Committee considers
that this criterion should preferably be used in conjunction with
other criteria);
(vii) contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional
natural beauty and aesthetic importance;
(viii) be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's
history, including the record of life, significant on-going
geological processes in th develpment of landforms, or
significant geomorphic or physiographic features; 4 Cultural Heritage
(ix) be outstanding examples representing significant on-going
ecological and biological processes in the evolution and Natural Heritage
development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine
ecosystems and communities of plants and animals;
(x) contain the most important and significant natural habitats 16
for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those
containing threatened species of outstanding universal value
from the point of view of science or conservation.

78. To be deemed of outstanding universal value, a property must

also meet the conditions of integrity and/or authenticity and
must have an adequate protection and management system to
ensure its safeguarding.
6 18

14 2 5
8 7 9
1 15

Ogasawara islands

Yakushima island

Nansei (Southwest) islands

Okinawa island

Agency for Cultural Affairs TEL 03-5253-4111

COVER: Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites(photo by Gunma Prefecture)