Kumano Kodo

Some UNESCO World Heritage Sites to See in Japan

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN) that aims to promote world peace and security through international cooperation in education, the sciences, and culture. UNESCO has also established international cooperation agreements to secure World Heritage Sites (a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention) of cultural and Natural importance. Check out some of Japan’s heritage sites.

Pilgrimage route to Kumano Sanzan

Pilgrimage route to Kumano Sanzan.

Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage Route

The sacred trails of Kumano Kodo (熊野古道) are a series of ancient trails used by religious pilgrims for over a thousand years. The pilgrimage leads to the sacred site Kumano Sanzan, the Three Grand Shrines of Kumano. The Kumano Kodo and Kumano Sanzan, along with Koyasan and Yoshino and Omine, some of the most sacred spots in Japan where anyone can enjoy the beauty and solemnity of walking the course.

Itsukushima Shrine torii

Itsukushima Shrine and the floating torii.

Itsukushima Shrine

One of Japan’s more prominent torii is the one on the entrance of Itsukushima Shrine. Standing solitary and majestic during high tide, it is known as the floating torii. The floating torii and Itsukushima Shrine are located in the island of Itsukushima, more popularly known as Miyajima, in the city of Hatsukaichi in Hiroshima Prefecture. The solemnity of the lone red torii in the middle of the ocean during sunrise and sunset is so mesmerizing it is considered a pathway between the human and spirit world.

Bronze Buddha at Todai-ji temple

Bronze Buddha at Todai-ji temple, Nara.

Monuments of Ancient Nara

Nara was once Japan’s political and cultural center and was modeled after the most prosperous capital city of China during the Tang Dynasty, Chang’an. Heijo-kyu History Museum, the Heijo Palace Site Museum, and the Excavation Site Exhibition Hall house all the artifacts of an era long gone and have influenced the rich culture and history of the Japanese people.

Gassho-zukuri homes

Gassho-zukuri homes at Shirakawa-go.

Shirakawa-go and Gokayama Villages

Shirakawa-go and and Gokayama Villages are known for their  for their traditional gassho-zukuri farmhouses, some of which are at least 250 years old. The historical villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama are favorite places to visit in Japan. The peaceful and quaint area takes you back in time and so befitting are the unique traditional Japanese architecture with their gassho-zukuri style farmhouses.