World Heritage sites

Places that are ‘inscribed on the World Heritage List’ for Japan are listed below. Where relevant the page numbers in Japan by Rail are given.

 

All over Japan

33 float festivals (as one item) were added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list in December 2016; the festivals included are listed below. The place name is in bold text and a page reference given if the festival and/or place is mentioned in Japan by Rail:

Hachinohe Sansha (p341); Kakunodate (pp338-40); Tsuchizaki Shinmei Shrine (Akita); Hanawa (Kazuno); Shinjo (pp59-60); Hitachi Furyumono; Karasuyama Yamaage (Nasukarasuyama); Kanuma Imamiya Shrine Festival; Chichibu Night Festival; Kawagoe Hikawa (p323); Sawara Float (Katori); Takaoka Mikurimayama; Uozu Tatemon; Johana Hikiyama (p186); Seihaku (Nanao); Takayama (p220); Furukawa (Hida-Furukawa) (pp191-2); Ogaki; Owari Tsushima Tenno (Tsushima/Aisai); Chiryu; Inuyama (pp204-5); Kemezaki Shiohi (Handa); Sunari (Kanie); Kujirabune (Yokkaichi); Ueno Tenjin (Iga); Ishidori (Kuwana); Nagahama Hikiyama (p236); Kyoto Gion Yamahoko (p260); Hakata Gion Yamakasa (p438); Tobata Gion (Kitakyushu) (p414); Karatsu Kunchi; Yatsushiro Myoken; and Hita Gion.

 

Honshu

Central Honshu

Shirakawa-go
(© Japan by Rail)

Cultural

  • Historic villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama (see pp224-6 & pp232-3)
  • Mt Fuji (Fuji-san), sacred place and source of artistic inspiration, (see p138 & 170); the inscription actually includes 25 sites on and around Mt Fuji
  • Tomioka Silk Mill and related sites Tomioka City, Gunma Prefecture. Each of the four sites included in this inscription played a different role in the production of silk.
  • The National Museum of Western Art, in Tokyo, (see p114) was added to UNESCO’s World Heritage list in July 2016 as part of the registration of The Architectural work of Le Corbusier, an outstanding contribution to Modern movement.

Natural

  • Ogasawara Islands; also known as the Bonin Islands. These have a wide variety of flora and fauna and are in the Pacific Ocean about 1000km from Tokyo. They can only be reached by ferry (a 24hr journey).

On the tentative list

  • Temples, shrines and other structures in ancient Kamakura (see pp133-7)

 

Kansai

Cultural

Byodo-in, Uji

Byodo-in, Uji (© Japan by Rail)

  • Horyu-ji (see pp270-1), near Nara, and other Buddhist monuments in the area
  • Historic monuments in ancient Kyoto (see pp250-64), Uji (Byodo-in; see p265) and Otsu
  • Historic monuments in ancient Nara (see p266)
  • Sacred sites and pilgrimage routes in the Kii mountain range, Wakayama (see p241, p242). The best-known site in this grouping is probably Koya-san; Danjo-Garan is one of the two most sacred sites in Koya-san.

On the tentative list

  • Asuka-Fujiwara, near Nara, Kansai: archaeological sites of Japan’s ancient capitals and related properties
  • Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun, ancient tumulus clusters

 

Western Honshu

Cultural

  • Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome; see pp302-3)

    Itsukushima torii, Miyajima
    (© Japan by Rail)

  • Himeji Castle (see p274)
  • Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, Miyajima (see pp308-9)
  • Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its cultural landscape (see p286, pp287-8)
  • Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and steel, shipbuilding and coal mining Yamaguchi and Kyushu

On the tentative list

  • Hikone castle (see p236)

 

Tohoku

Cultural

  • Shrines and temples in Nikko (see p324)

    Pure Land Garden, Motsu-ji, Hiraizumi
    (© Japan by Rail)

  • Hiraizumi: temples, gardens and archaeological sites representing the Buddhist Pure Land (see pp334-5)

Natural

Shirakami-Sanchi

On the tentative list

  • Hiraizumi: temples, gardens and archaeological sites representing the Buddhist Pure Land (extension to the area already inscribed
  • The Sado complex of heritage mines, primarily gold mines
  • Jomon archaeological sites in northern Tohoku, Hokkaido and other regions

 

Hokkaido

Natural

  • Shiretoko (see p382)

On the tentative list

  • Jomon archaeological sites in northern Tohoku, Hokkaido and other regions

 

Kyushu

On the tentative list: Site of the Martyrdom of the 26 Saints of Japan
(© KU)

Cultural

  • Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and steel, shipbuilding and coal mining Kyushu and Yamaguchi

On the tentative list (Natural)

  • Yakushima, Osumu Islands, nr Kagoshima, Kyushu
  • Churches and Christian sites in Nagasaki (see pp442-4)
  • Okinoshima Island and related sites in Munakata rigion

 

Okinawa

Cultural

  • Gusuku sites and related properties of the kingdom of Ryukyu
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