World Heritages in Japan Part 1

Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine (World Heritage)

The silver mine in the southwest of the island of Honshu was an important mining center for over 400 years until it was finally closed in 1923. In addition to the pits, the world heritage also includes mining settlements, silver smelters, transport routes and the three port cities from which the ores were exported.

Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine: Facts

Official title: Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and Cultural Landscape
Cultural monument: In the southwest of the Japanese main island Honshu, about five km² extensive area of ​​silver mining from 400 years as well as the associated settlements, smelters, refineries, fortifications, administrative buildings and transport routes; Beginning of the 16th century. Development of the silver mines in this 600 m high mountainous area, maximum extraction in the 17th century (1602: 15 tons per year), closure in 1923; 14 separate sites, including archaeological finds of shrines and temples as well as the port cities of Tomogaura, Okidomari and Yunotsu for shipping silver to China and Korea; After the mine was closed, the area was densely forested and overgrown
Continent: Asia
Country: Japan
Location: Ōda, Shimane Prefecture, Honshu
Appointment: 2007
Meaning: Extraordinary testimony to the shaping of a cultural landscape by mining; Document of the origin of silver mining in Japan and the development of work and mining technology in premodern Asia; Testimony to the early economic exchanges between Japan and customers in East Asia and Europe


Sacred sites and pilgrimage routes in the Kii Mountains (World Heritage)

In the Kii Mountains on the island of Honshu are the holy sites of Yoshino and Omine, Kumanosanzan and Koyasan. They are important pilgrimage sites where religious traditions of Shintoism and Buddhism mix. Pilgrimage routes connect them with each other and with the imperial cities of Nara and Kyoto.

Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountains: Facts Hide table

Official title: Holy places and pilgrimage routes in the Kii Mountains
Cultural monument: Three holy places and pilgrimage routes; Yoshino-Omine with the main temple of the Shogen school of ascetic Buddhism, Koysan with the origin of the Shingon school of esoteric Buddhism and Kumano Sanzan with the Shinto Buddhist school; some 9th century shrines; up to 15 million visitors annually
Continent: Asia
Country: Japan
Location: Honshu Island south of the old imperial city of Nara
Appointment: 2004
Meaning: Testimony to the fusion of Shintoism and Buddhism

Kingdom of the Ryukyu Islands (World Heritage)

The Ryukyu Islands lie between Taiwan and Kyushu. The archaeological sites document the history of the Kingdom of Ryukyu, which was founded in the 12th century and lasted until the 17th century. According to payhelpcenter, it lived from trading with Japan, China and Korea.

Kingdom of the Ryukyu Islands: Facts

Official title: Archaeological Sites of the Kingdom of the Ryukyu Islands
Cultural monument: Castle ruins and sacred places of the independent kingdom of Ryūkyū (12th to 17th centuries), probably founded in 1187 by a member of the Japanese house of Minamoto
Continent: Asia
Country: Japan
Location: Ryūkyū island chain in the Pacific Ocean, southwest of Japan
Appointment: 2000
Meaning: Unique testimony to the social, religious, economic and cultural history of the Ryūkyū Islands as an economic and cultural center

Kingdom of the Ryukyu Islands

Shrines and Temples of Nikko (World Heritage)

Nikko’s World Heritage includes the city’s Buddhist monuments: Toshogu Shrine, Futarasan-jinja Shrine, and Rin’no-ji Temple. The most famous building is the Toshogu Shrine with its magnificent main hall, which is adorned with finely crafted carvings and sculptures. It is the mausoleum for Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), who established the rule of his family for over 250 years with his shogunate in the 17th century.

Shrines and Temples of Nikko: Facts

Official title: Shrines and Temples of Nikko
Cultural monument: Mid-8th century shrines and temples in their natural setting; holy place for centuries and famous for its architectural masterpieces; mausoleum built for Tokugawa Ieyasu by his grandson Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1617 and Tosho shrine built between 1634 and 1636 (since the emperor posthumously promoted tosho, “illuminator of the east”); a total of 23 buildings; actual burial place (oku-miya) higher on the mountain slope, guarded by two bronze dogs; nearby Futaarasanschrein (founded in 784) and the purely Buddhist Daiyuin, the Iemitsus mausoleum, designed in simple black gold
Continent: Asia
Country: Japan
Location: Nikko
Appointment: 1999
Meaning: Exceptional example of a traditional religious center in Japan

Okinoshima Sacred Island (World Heritage)

The “island of the gods” lies between the Japanese south island of Kyushu and the Korean peninsula – and has been a sacred Shinto place of worship for centuries. Even today only selected male people have access to the island.

Sacred island of Okinoshima: facts

Official title: Sacred Okinoshima Island and related sites in the Munakata region
Cultural monument:
Continent: Asia
Country: Japan
Location: off the Japanese south island of Kyushu
Appointment: 2017