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List of World Heritage Sites in Japan facts for kids

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The List of World Heritage Sites in Japan is a group of places chosen by UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.


UNESCO was created for the "conservation and protection of the world’s inheritance of books, works of art and monuments of history and science". The constitution of UNESCO was ratified in 1946 by 26 countries.

Japan agreed to take part in the World Heritage Convention on 30 June 1992.


The World Heritage Site (WHS) list has developed over time. It is part of a process; and the list continues to grow.

As of 2012, there are 16 WHS places in Japan.

There are 12 sites which are on a tentative list.


Name Image Location Notes
Buddhist Monuments in the Hōryū-ji Area Horyu-ji11s3200.jpg Nara Prefecture cultural site
Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu Naha Shuri Castle16s5s3200.jpg Okinawa Prefecture cultural site
Himeji-jō Himeji Castle The Keep Towers.jpg Hyōgo Prefecture cultural site
Hiraizumi – Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land Mōtsū-ji.JPG Iwate Prefecture cultural site
Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome) HiroshimaGembakuDome6747.jpg Hiroshima Prefecture cultural site
Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto Byodoin Phoenix Hall Uji 2009.jpg Kyoto/Shiga Prefecture cultural site
Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara Kofukuji0411.jpg Nara Prefecture cultural site
Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama Shirakawa-go houses 1.jpg Gifu/Toyama Prefecture cultural site
Itsukushima Shinto Shrine Itsukushima torii distance.jpg Hiroshima Prefecture cultural site
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine, Shimizudani Refinery Ruins 001.JPG Shimane Prefecture cultural site
Ogasawara Islands Minamijima, Ogasawara, Tokyo.jpg Tokyo Natural Site
Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range Danjogaran Koyasan12n3200.jpg Mie/Nara/Wakayama Prefecture
Shrines and Temples of Nikkō Nikko Yomeimon M3135.jpg Tochigi Prefecture cultural site
Shirakami-Sanchi Sirakami santi.JPG Aomori/Akita Prefecture natural site
Shiretoko Goko Reflection.jpg Hokkaidō natural site—peninsula and marine area
Yakushima Jhomonsugi in Yaku Island Japan 001.JPG Kagoshima Prefecture natural site—warm temperate ancient forest

Tentative List

The Tentative List consists of sites which have been nominated. The evaluation process is not yet completed.

  • Asuka-Fujiwara: Archaeological Sites of Japan's Ancient Capitals and Related Properties
  • Churches and Christian Sites in Nagasaki
  • Hikone-Jo (castle)
  • Jômon Archaeological Sites in Hokkaidô, Northern Tôhoku, and other regions
  • Main Building of the National Museum of Western Art
  • Modern Industrial Heritage Sites in Kyûshû and Yamaguchi
  • Mozu-Furuichi Kofungun, Ancient Tumulus Clusters
  • Okinoshima Island and Related Sites in Munakata Region
  • Sado complex of heritage mines, primarily gold mines
  • Temples, Shrines and other structures of Ancient Kamakura
  • Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Industrial Heritage

In January 2012 the Japanese government requested the inscription of the tentative sites of Kamakura and Mount Fuji in 2013, with plans to request the inscription in 2014 of The Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Industrial Heritage. The Amami and Ryūkyū Islands (Yanbaru) have been selected for nomination as a joint fifth Natural Site and a study panel is to be formed to consider a sixth candidate site.

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