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Highlighting JAPAN

September 2015

Japanese World Heritage


Japan-Italy Summit Meeting
Statement by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe

Japanese World Heritage


Japan's World Heritage Sites: A Feel All Their Own
Interview with Masanori Aoyagi, Commissioner for Cultural Affairs

The Sites of Japan's Meiji industrial Revolution were recently added to the list of World Heritage Sites, bringing Japan's total to nineteen. We spoke with Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Masanori Aoyagi, an art historian and former director general of the National Museum of Western Art, to learn about the rich and varied charms of these destinations and how Japan's singular culture and climate brought them about.

Japan's Nineteen UNESCO World Heritage Sites

In 1993, Horyu-ji, Himeji Castle, Shirakami Sanchi and Yakushima were registered as Japan's first four UNESCO World Heritage sites - list that has now expanded to include fifteen World Cultural Heritage sites and four World Natural Heritage sites.
Japan further boasts 22 items on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List, which aims to protect aspects of intangible culture such as traditional music, dance, theater and industrial arts.

An Unprecedented Miracle of Industrialization

UNESCO has inscribed "Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining" on the World Heritage List. Consisting of twenty-three component parts, they tell a story of uncommon historical value.

A Castle Reborn

Himeji Castle is an aesthetically refined specimen of Japanese wooden fortress construction, unique in the world. In March 2015, it completed its first major renovation in fifty years, reborn in resplendent white, like a beautiful heron .
Volunteering Bonds Meet Mutual Needs.

Higher Paths, Deeper Thoughts

A Swiss native turned Buddhist monk in Koyasan - part of a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage string of sacred sites and pilgrimage routes - illuminates the path for foreign visitors.

Spending a Night in History

Built to withstand and even take advantage of their environment, the singular structures known as gassho-zukuri can only be found in two villages in Japan.
Seeds of Knowledge Transplanted for Recovery.

Washoku for the World

An English teacher brings people of different nationalities together through some intensive, hands-on appreciation of traditional Japanese food culture, leading them into the deep world of a piece of Intangible Cultural Heritage.


Thousands of Light-Points of Protection

Safeguarding the health of elderly patients suffering from dementia and risk-prone newborns is set to become much easier with the advent of a non-invasive bedside monitoring system called Owlsight.

Sometimes Fate Is Sweet

Bill Leon-Guerrero was an emergency medical technician living on Guam, and knew nothing about making sweets before his father-in-law asked him and his wife to take over the family business on the island of Shikoku in Japan.

Life-Changing Magic

Time Magazine listed tidying-up evangelist Marie Kondo as one of the world's "100 Most Influential People" in 2015, and her book has sold over three million copies globally. Why do people follow her so avidly?

A Historical Walk Through Japanese Tea

Imbibing green tea as a form of social lubrication or in the course of relaxation is integral to Japan's culture, and Kyoto's Yamashiro region is the historical nexus of leafy production.