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Cultural Heritage Sites in Japan For a Memorable Travel Experience

Written by: Swastika Kusumawati

Japan is famous for its traditional building and sites that attract tourists from all over the world. The Japanese protect the sites from generations to keep the historical and value.

There are 20 sites across Japan that are registered in UNESCO and are recognized as World Cultural Heritage. Today we will introduce 5 must-visit spots for your next bucket list!

1. Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto

If you want to taste the real traditional Japanese culture and feel the old days ambiance of Japan, Kyoto is one of the best cities that you can’t miss. Most foreign tourists make Kyoto their favorite city in Japan that allows them to get in touch with the culture and history of Japan.

There are 17 sites that registered as Historic Monuments of Ancients Kyoto including Shinto shrines, Buddhist temples, and castle in Kyoto and the neighboring city of Uji and Otsu in Shiga Prefecture. The infamous Kiyomizu-Dera is one of the most attractive spots to visit, but you can also explore another 12 Buddhist temples such as Rokuon-Ji, Ryoan-Ji, To-Ji, etc.



Besides, there are three Shinto shrines you can visit; Kamigamo-shrine, Shimogamo-shrineUjigami-shrine, and Nijo-jo (Nijo Castle) which has been the residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first shogun of the Edo Period.


Nijo Castle


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2. Historic Villages of Shirakawa-Go and Gokayama

Shirakawa-Go and Gokayama are the remote areas in the mountains of Gifu and Toyama Prefecture. Shirakawa-go is located in Gifu Prefecture while Gokayama (Five Mountains) area is divided between the former villages of Kamitaira and Taira in Nanto, Toyama Prefecture.

Located in a heavy snowfall area Hida-Takayama, you can see the beauty of white snow that covered the house’s roof, which is known as a gasshostyle farmhouse, that is designed to easily shed snow from the roof.

So, how about another season? Although the best time to visit Shirakawa-go and Gokayama is in the winter to see the village in total white, it is also recommended to visit Shirakawa-go and Gokayama in another season like summer to get yourself immersed in another level of beautiful scenery with cosmos, sunflowers, and other flowers that grow all over the village.

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3. Hiroshima Peace Memorial

Hiroshima Peace Memorial or commonly called the Genbaku Dome (A-Bomb Dome) in central Hiroshima, is the only remaining structure in central Hiroshima after America’s atomic blast on 6th August 1945.

Every August 6th, a Peace Memorial Ceremony is held to remember in purpose to console the souls of the lost to the atomic bombing, as well as pray for the realization of lasting world peace.

This site is recommended for those who love the world’s history and want to learn deeper about humanity.

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4. Itsukushima Shrine

The Itsukushima Shrine is a Shinto Shrine in Miyajima and is best known for its “floating” torii gate. This site becomes the most popular cultural attraction because when the tide rises, you can see a breathtaking view of its amazing architectural beauty as if it was floating on the sea with Mount Misen, green forest, and blue ocean as the background makes it looks like a real-life painting.

The shrine complex is listed in UNESCO World Heritage Site, consists of two main buildings; the Honsha shrine and the Sesshsa Marodo- jinja. If you like photography and are willing to take excellent instagrammable photos, the Itsukushima Shrine is a must-visit spot!

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5. Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji is known worldwide as the symbol of Japan. As the highest volcano mountain in Japan, Mout Fuji has become Japan’s pride and has been worshipped as a sacred place.

UNESCO listed Mount Fuji as a “cultural” rather than a “natural” heritage site. It mentions that “Mount Fuji has inspired artists and poets and been the object of pilgrimage for centuries“. That’s the reason why Mount Fuji is listed as a cultural heritage site of Japan.

Fujisan is located between Yamanashi and Shizuoka Prefecture and even can be seen from afar such as Tokyo or Yokohama when clear days. That makes Mount Fuji is considered to “watches and protects all over Japan”.

The best season to climb Mount Fuji is in summer and it’s officially open in early July to mid-September when the trails and facilities are open. During this period, Mount Fuji is free of snow and the weather is mild so you can climb with fewer obstacles.

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