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World Heritage

World Heritage Sites are the ones inscribed in the World Heritage List based upon the "Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (socalled the World Heritage Convention) adopted in 1972 by the General Conference of UNESCO. "Site","Buildings" and "Nature" inscribed on this list have to be preserved and protected "internationally" as valuable and common assets of mankind.

The first condition for the inscription to the World Heritage is that the World Heritage Committee admits that the property has a unique and "remarkable and universal value" based on an international standard. And it is necessary that the property is well reserved and managed suitably for its value.

In July 2005, 812 sites in the world and 13 sites in Japan are inscribed on the list. As the number of sites increased, it was ruled that one country should not have the same kind of property recommended. In this sense, those inscribed now are the representatives of the history, culture and nature of the country all over the world.


World Heritage in Japan

Property Prefecture Year Inscribed Standard of value
1 Buddhist Monuments in the Horyuji Area Nara Nara 1993 1,2,4,6
2 Himeji-jo Hyogo 1993 1,4
3 Yakushima Kagoshima 1993 8,9
4 Shirakami-Sanchi Aomori / Akita 1993 8
5 Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities Kyoto / Shiga 1994 2,4
6 Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama Gifu / Toyama 1995 4,5
7 Itsukushima Shinto Shrine Hiroshima 1996 1,2,4,6
8 Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) Hiroshima 1996 6
9 Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara Nara 1998 2,3,4,6
10 Shrines and temples in Nikko Tochigi 1999 1,4,6
11 Gusuku Site and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu Okinawa 2000 2,3,6
12 Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range Mie / Nara / Wakayama 2004 2,3,4,6
13 Shiretoko Hokkaido 2005 8,10

(3) Yakushima, (4) Shirakami-Sanchi and (13) Shiretoko are Natural Heritage
Others are Cultural Heritage

World Heritage in Japan Map


1 represent a masterpiece of human creative genius; or

2 exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts,town-planning or landscape design; or

3 bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared; or

4 be an outstanding example of a type of building or architectural or technological ensemble or land scape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history; or

5 be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement or land-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact or irreversible change; or

6 be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance (theCommittee considers that this criterion should justify inscription in the List only in exceptional circumstances and conjunction with other criteria and natural);

7 be outstanding examples representing major stages of earth's history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features; or

8 be outstanding examples representing significant on-going ecological in the evolution and development of terrestrial, fresh water, coastal and marine ecosystems and communities of plants and animals; or

9 contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional naturalbeauty and aesthetic importance; or

10 contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science and conservation.


For more information about World Heritage, please refer to the Home Page of the National Federation of UNESCO Association in Japan.

Wakayama Prefecture The World Heritage Registration Association
(Wakayama Prefecture Planning Department Planning Bureau Regional Development Division Branch Office)
100-1 Hongu Hongu Town Tanabe City, Wakayama Prefecture, 647-1731