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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

UNESCO World Heritage Sites Japan

Here is a list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in Japan and the year they were inscribed to the list.

Buddhist Monuments in the Horyu-ji Area of Nara (1993)

NaraParts of Horyuji Temple are the oldest surviving wooden structures in the world - these include the 32m-high five-storey pagoda, the main hall built from 28 massive wooden pillars and the central gate. The temple is possibly the oldest existing temple in Japan and was founded in 607 by Prince Shotoku. It is the headquarters of the Shotoku sect. The pagoda was dismantled during World War II but was reassembled after the end of hostilities.

Guide to Nara City Guides/Nara

Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu (Okinawa) (2000)

OkinawaThe ruins of the former kings of the Ryukyu Islands (Shuri-jo) are located on a hill to the north-east of the capital, Naha. The castle was the seat of power for the Ryukyu kings from the early 15-century to 1879 when Okinawa was absorbed into Japan. Unfortunately the site was almost completely destroyed in World War II and many of the present buildings are post-war reconstructions.

Himeji-jo (Himeji Castle) (1993)

Himeji Castle is generally considered the most beautiful of all the samurai castles in Japan. The original site dates from the 14th century and the existing castle was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1580 and enlarged 30 years later by Ikeda Terumasa. The castle consists of a five-storey donjon (keep), three smaller donjonsand is surrounded by walls and moats - the castle is known as Shirasagijo or Hakurojo (Egret Castle).

Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) (1996)

HiroshimaPreviously the Industrial Promotion Hall constructed in 1914, the building, at the hypocenter of the blast, partially survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima in 1945, and serves as a reminder of the world's first atomic attack.
The building is flood-lit at night and is set in a small park on the east bank of the Motoyasu river opposite the Peace Memorial Park.

Guide to Hiroshima City Guides/Hiroshima

Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji and Otsu Cities) (1994)

Kinkakuji, KyotoThe Gion geisha quarter, Nijo castle, Heian shrine, Kiyomizudera, Ginkakuji & Kinkakuji temples, Katsura and Shugakkuin palace, Kyoto is a treasure trove of hundreds of historic temples, shrines, gardens and palaces. Japan's capital from 794 to 1868. Now a modern city of 1.5 million inhabitants, Kyoto remains a center of traditional Japanese art and crafts, culture and cuisine. Designed on a distinctive grid pattern and set in a picturesque basin surrounded by wooded hills, Kyoto is easily accessible from Tokyo or Osaka by train.

Guide to Kyoto City Guides/Kyoto

Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara (1998)

Nara, Nara PrefectureJapan's capital from 710-784 and considered the fount of Japanese Buddhism, Nara is another must-see for any visitor to Japan. Nara Park, Todaiji Temple (the world’s largest wooden structure), Shoso-in Hall, Kofukuji Temple (five-story pagoda located in Nara Park), Kasuga Taisha Shrine, Gangoji Temple, Horyuji Temple, Yakushuji Temple, and many more sites are situated within this small and pleasant city.

Guide to Nara City Guides/Nara

Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama (1995)

These remote villages in central Japan are noted for their vast A-frame shaped thatched farm houses, set in idyllic forested valleys. The buildings are constructed in the gasshozukuri style (praying hands) - as the steep 60 degree slope of the roofs - designed to withstand heavy snowfall are reminiscent of hands clasped in prayer.

Itsukushima Shinto Shrine, Miyajima, Hiroshima (1996)

The Itsukushima 'floating shrine' is a vermilion Shinto torii gate standing in the shallow waters off Miyajima island just outside Hiroshima. A shrine supposedly was located at the site from the 6th century but the present form dates from the 12th century. The view of the gate is one of Japan's most representative scenes.

Guide to Hiroshima City Guides/Hiroshima

Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range (2004)

The three sacred mountains listed are Yoshino-Omine, in Nara Prefecture; Koyasan, in Wakayama Prefecture; and Kumano Sanzan, which leads to Koyasan. Yoshino is where the main temple of the Shugen sect of Buddhism is located. Koyasan is the home of the original Shingon sect of esoteric Buddhism. The total area consists of 495 hectares of historic sites and 11,370 hectares set aside as a buffer zone.

Guide to Omine Travel/Omine

Shrines and Temples of Nikko (1999)

Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu's grand, elaborately decorated mausoleum - the Toshogu - was built in the forested mountains of Nikko (in modern-day Ibaraki Prefecture) in the mid 17th century. Other buildings in the complex include the Futarasan shrine and the Rinnoji Buddhist temple. The whole site reveals the immense power and wealth of the Tokugawa dynasty and the surrounding area is beautiful throughout the year, especially in autumn.

Guide to Nikko City Guides/Nikko

Shirakami-Sanchi (1993)

Shirakami-Sanchi in Akita Prefecture is a 321-acre virgin forest of Siebold's beech trees that once grew throughout northern Japan. The largely trackless forest is home to black bears, monkeys, the serow (mountain goat) and many species of birds including rare eagles and hawks.

Yakushima (1993)

Yakushima21% of the island is considered to be World Heritage territory and 96% of that area is made up of natural forest. Yakushima itself contains several endangered species of plants and animals. The islands Yaku-sugi trees are huge, natural cedars that are unique to the island.With a backdrop of lush green mountains, sparkling blue water, and rare flowers and animals, Yakushima is an incredible place to spend a few days.

Guide to Yakushima Travel/Yakushima

Shiretoko (2005)

The Shiretoko Peninsula at the north eastern end of Hokkaido, jutting out into the Okhotsk Sea, is a natural habitat for rare plant and animal life including Steller's sea lions, and is home to the world's highest recorded number of brown bears. The peninsula is 65 km long and 25 km wide with a number of quiescent volcanoes and hot springs.

Iwami Ginzan (2007)
Iwami Ginzan

The Iwami Ginzan silver mines in Shimane in south west Honshu produced over a quarter of all the world's silver in their heyday in the 16th and 17th centuries and helped to bankroll the Tokugawa Shogunate. Much of the silver from Iwami Ginzan found its way overseas and was used to pay for Chinese silks brought by foreign merchants to Nagasaki. Over 200 temples existed in the area to provide to the workers and their dependents in the mines, mostly administering funeral rites as a silver miner's life was brutally short. Many of the wooden buildings in the town of Omori have been restored and some of the narrow shafts are now open to the public.

Iwami Ginzan

UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan

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