Biodiversity / Food / Water

November 10, 2011


Ogasawara Islands in Tokyo, Hiraizumi in Iwate Listed as World Heritage Sites

Keywords: Ecosystems / Biodiversity Government 

Shark infested ship wreck from WWII
Image by ippei + janine. Some Rights Reserved.

Image by kanegen. Some Rights Reserved.


The Ogasawara Islands in Tokyo Prefecture and cultural heritages (temples, gardens and archaeological sites representing the Pure Land of Mahayana Buddhism) in Hiraizumi Town, Nishiiwai County, Iwate Prefecture were inscribed on the World Heritage List on June 24 and 25, 2011. They were added as 15th and 16th World Heritage sites in Japan, respectively.

The Ogasawara Islands were designated as a World Natural Heritage in recognition of their universal value as a model of biological evolutionary processes on small oceanic islands. The islands offer an example of adaptive radiation, the evolution of identical forms of life into a wide variety of types (form, color) that are adapted to different environments, as well as evolution that is characteristic of oceanic islands such as dioecious plants (plant species in which male and female reproductive organs are found on separate plants) and the evolution of grasses into trees.

Hiraizumi Town, the first World Cultural Heritage in the Tohoku Region, or northeastern Japan, showcases Buddhist temples and gardens that embody Pure Land Buddhism and other properties from a splendid culture of gold. The culture flourished during the 100 years reigned by four generations of the Fujiwara Clan in the late 11th century as an independent variation of the Buddhist culture from Kyoto. It has been 10 years since Hiraizumi was listed on Japan's Tentative List of World Heritage sites. Hiraizumi started its history of cultural heritages when Chuson-ji temple was built. Mr. Toshikazu Yamada, the head priest of the temple, says, "The designation has brought us a ray of hope as we struggle in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake and as people all over the world watch and pray for the recovery of the area."

Japan's Shiretoko Designated A World Natural Heritage Site (Related JFS article)

Posted: 2011/11/10 06:00:15 AM



MOFA: World Heritage in Japan
Chuson-ji Temple official website