World Heritage Site

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Torii at Itsukushima Shrine
Torii at Shimogamo Shrine
The Foreign Engineers' Residence at Iso, in Kagoshima
  • Japanese: 世界遺産 (sekai isan)

World Heritage Sites are designated by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) as the sites of the greatest historical and cultural importance to all humanity, and the most worth protecting. UNESCO also maintains a similar list of performing arts and other practices, designating these Intangible Cultural Heritage.

There are currently 19 World Heritage Sites in Japan, several of which are umbrella categories including numerous individual sites. A number of other sites have been proposed and are in various stages of the process of being considered for inclusion.

Cultural Sites

Natural Sites


  1. Modern reconstructions are not eligible for World Heritage Status; Shuri castle is included on the list for the site itself, including ruins and underground archaeological material, and not for the reconstructed buildings.