World Heritages in Japan Part 2

Sites of silk spinning in Tomioka (World Heritage)

The industrial monument around the Tomioka silk mill bears witness to a time of new beginnings. The sericulture there and the associated silk mill was founded in 1872 in Gunma Prefecture northwest of Tokyo. According to oxfordastronomy, the Japanese state itself took the initiative and had machines imported from France for the company at the time.

The complex consists of four locations, which reflect the different stages in the manufacture of raw silk: the production of cocoons on an experimental farm; a cooling system for silkworm eggs; the unreeling of the cocoons and the spinning of the raw silk in a mill; and finally a school for the dissemination of knowledge in sericulture.

These modern industrial techniques no longer had much in common with traditional silk production, as it had been practiced in Japan for centuries without major changes. The sites in Tomioka illustrate Japan’s successful modernization efforts in the Meiji period towards the end of the 19th century, when the country rose to become the world’s leading exporter of raw silk and generally advanced its industrialization.

Silk Milling Sites in Tomioka: Facts

Official title: Silk mill sites in Tomioka
Cultural monument: Seidenmühle with four individual production and training locations
Continent: Asia
Country: Japan
Location: Tomioka northwest of Tokyo
Appointment: 2014
Meaning: Tomioka illustrates the industrialization of silk production and is therefore also representative of the modernization of Japan in the Meji period.

Buddhist complexes of Hiraizumi (world heritage)

The world heritage includes five sites, including temples and a garden as well as the holy mountain Kinkeisan. The complex was built in the 12th century when the Oshu Fujiwara family made Hiraizumi the capital of their empire in northern Japan, which competed with the emperor’s residence in Kyoto.

Hiraizumi Buddhist Complexes: Facts

Official title: Hiraizumi – Pure Land Buddhism Temples, Gardens, and Archaeological Sites
Cultural monument: Five sites with holy places of the Buddhist “School of the Pure Land”, a variant of Amitabha Buddhism, including the holy mountain Mount Kinkeisan; Expression of the wealth and power of Hiraizumi as the administrative center of the northern Japanese kingdom in the 11th and 12th centuries; four different gardens with temple complexes (including Chuson-ji temple), whose plantings, water elements and the surrounding landscape in a homogeneous overall concept represent the paradise, the “Pure Land” of Buddha, in which people come after their death; Remains of government buildings from the 11th and 12th centuries.
Continent: Asia
Country: Japan
Location: Hiraizumi, northeastern Japan
Appointment: 2011
Meaning: Exceptional testimony to the connection between faith and nature in a unique architecture and landscape concept; outstanding document on the spread of Buddhism in East Asia and the connection between Japanese worship of nature and Buddhist elements of Indian origin

Ogasawara Islands (World Heritage)

The 30 islands in the Western Pacific were formed 48 million years ago through tectonic and volcanic activity. Because of their isolated location, they provide insight into the evolution of many endemic species. The archipelago is the habitat of numerous endangered bird species as well as insect and rare lizard species. In the subtropical climate with frequent fog, rare tree ferns, mosses and epiphytes and endemic plant species grow.

Ogasawara Islands: Facts

Official title: Ogasawara Islands
Natural monument: Group of 30 islands (two of which are inhabited) in the Northwest Pacific approx. 1,000 km off the Japanese mainland with an area of ​​approx. 80 km² (approx. 64 km² land, 16 km² sea area); different types of landscape with large populations of animal and plant species; over 440 endemic plants, approx. 195 rare bird species, more than 100 land snail species, 90% of which are endemic, 1,400 insect species; endangered bat species the Bonin flying fox, the only land mammal; Favorable subtropical climate for tree ferns, mosses and epiphytes (e.g. orchids)
Continent: Asia
Country: Japan
Location: Ogasawara Islands, Northwest Pacific
Appointment: 2011
Meaning: Extraordinary untouched nature area with a great variety of animals and plants, especially endemic nature; unique opportunity to study ongoing evolutionary processes with ongoing speciation

Meiji Period Industrial Revolution Sites (World Heritage)

The world heritage site comprises 23 individual locations mainly in the south-west of Japan, which testify to the rapid industrialization of the country since the mid-19th century. These include coal mines, a shipyard, port facilities, blast furnaces and a forge.

While UNESCO used to honor Japan’s religious and cultural past by designating Buddhist temples, Shinto shrines or landscaped landscapes as World Heritage Sites, it is increasingly turning its attention to the era of industrialization. Here Japan is seen as the first example of a successful transfer of European-American industrialization to a country outside the western world. The Japan of the Meiji period actively sought this transfer, but tried to adapt it to the special needs of the country and its traditions. On this basis, Japanese heavy industry and shipbuilding achieved an enormous boom in the 20th century.

Meiji Period Industrial Revolution Sites: Facts

Official title: Sites of the industrial revolution in the Meiji period
Cultural monument: 23 individual sites of industrial production (blast furnaces, coal mines, charcoal piles, an iron hammer, a river pumping station, sluice gates, a jib crane, shipyards), trade (port facilities) or accompanying activities (residence of foreign engineers, guest houses, administrative buildings) related to the Industrialization of Japan during the Meiji period in the last third of the 19th century
Continent: Asia
Country: Japan
Location: distributed over Japan with a focus on the south-west of the country
Appointment: 2015
Meaning: outstanding example for the transfer of industrialization to a non-western country and its adaptation according to local conditions

Meiji Period Industrial Revolution Sites