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Japan to Propose Kobushi Region as UNESCO Biosphere Reserve (News)

Tokyo, March 8 (Jiji Press)—The Japanese National Commission for UNESCO has decided to propose the Kobushi mountain region straddling Saitama Prefecture and three neighboring prefectures as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve area. The commission on Wednesday said it plans to submit an application in September. Whether the region will be added to the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve list will be determined arou…

Light-up Season Makes Shirakawa-gō a Winter Wonderland (Japan in Photos)

The annual lighting-up season at the village of Shirakawa-gō began on January 21, 2018. The settlement in Gifu Prefecture is known for its traditional gasshō-zukuri roofs (resembling hands held together in prayer) and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The houses are lit up from around half-past five in the evening, creating a winter wonderland every Sunday until February 4, with one final displ…

Records on Korean Missions to Japan Join UNESCO Memory Register (News)

Tokyo, Oct. 31 (Jiji Press)—UNESCO said Tuesday that it has added historic materials documenting diplomatic missions from the Korean Peninsula to Japan from the seventeenth through nineteenth centuries to its Memory of the World Register. Also inscribed on the list were Three Cherished Stelae of Ancient Kozuke stone monuments erected from the seventh to eighth centuries in an area now included …

Mount Fuji

An introduction to Japan’s iconic mountain that draws visitors from around the world for its main summer climbing season.

Sophia University Professor Ishizawa Wins Magsaysay Award (News)

Manila, July 27 (Jiji Press)—Ishizawa Yoshiaki, who worked for decades to save Cambodia's Angkor archaeological site, is among the winners of this year's Ramon Magsaysay Award, known as Asia's version of the Nobel Prize, the award organizer said Thursday. Born in Obihiro in the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaidō, the 79-year-old professor at Japan's Sophia University has been engaged in resear…

Sacred Island Selected for UNESCO List: An Overview of World Heritage Sites in Japan

The Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region has been registered by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. It is the twenty-first Japanese location to be added to the prestigious list.

Okinoshima, Related Sites Added to World Heritage List (News)

Krakow, Poland, July 9 (Jiji Press)—Okinoshima, a sacred island, and related religious sites in Fukuoka Prefecture were inscribed to the UNESCO World Heritage List on Sunday. In May, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, or ICOMOS, recommended additions to the cultural heritage list of only Okinoshima and three rocks belonging to the island, rejecting the Japanese government's reque…

Keeping the “Ama” Tradition Alive in the Seas of MieJulian Ryall

Mie Prefecture is home to around 1,000 ama, the women freedivers who keep alive a 3,000-year-old way of fishing. Today there are only around double this number in all of Japan, a sharp decline from more than 17,000 half a century ago. As the ama population ages, what can be done to keep this traditional occupation afloat?

Okinoshima Alone Set to Make World Cultural Heritage List (News)

Tokyo, May 5 (Jiji Press)—A UNESCO advisory body has made a recommendation to put the island of Okinoshima, an ancient religious site in Japan, on the World Heritage list, the Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency said Friday. But the International Council on Monuments and Sites, or ICOMOS, rejected the Japanese government's request for inscription in the heritage list of other religious monuments i…

A Blazing Vernal Rite: Nara’s Tōdaiji Celebrates Omizutori Festival (Japan in Photos)

A time-lapse photo captures the course of monks as parishioners carry kagotaimatsu (pine torches) along the corridors of the Nigatsudō of Tōdaiji in Nara Prefecture in the late hours of March 12, 2017. The Omizutori, or “water-drawing” festival, is part of Shunie, a series of spring rites held each year from March 1–14. Sparks from the torches are thought to drive away malicious forces and ens…

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