Japan is known for its rich history, culture and bountiful natural landscape. These are the reasons why millions of people visit Japan every year.

As of 2021, 23 remarkable Japanese sites were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List, including 4 Natural Heritage. These sites are designated for their universal value in natural or cultural heritage.

The Buddhist Monuments in the Horyuji Temple area (Nara Prefecture) and Himeji Castle (Hyogo Prefecture) were the first World Cultural Heritage Sites of Japan registered in December 1993.

On the other hand, Japan’s first two World Natural heritage Sites were also recognized in December 1993: Yakushima (Kagoshima Prefecture) and Shirakami-Sanchi (Aomori and Akita Prefecture).  

Based on an itinerary, tourists can explore some of Japan’s World Heritage Sites, from natural beauty spots like the Shiretoko Peninsula and Yakushima to cultural riches such as Himeji Castle and Itsukushima Shrine.

Below is the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Japan:

Name & Year of RecognitionMonumentsLocation
Horyuji Temple

Year: 1933
The world's oldest surviving wooden structuresNara Prefecture
Himeji Castle

Year: 1933
Japanese Feudal CastleHyogo Prefecture
Yakushima (Natural Heritage)

Year 1933
Warm temperate ancient forest Kagoshima Prefecture
Shirakami-Sanchi (Natural Heritage)

Year: 1933
Siebold's beech trees, mountainsAkita and Aomori Prefecture
Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto

Year: 1994
Kamigamo Jinja, Shimogamo Jinja, Tō-ji, Kiyomizu-dera, Enryaku-ji, Daigo-ji, Ninna-ji, Byōdō-in, Ujigami Jinja, Kōzan-ji, Saihō-ji, Tenryū-ji, Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji, Ryōan-ji, Nishi Hongan-ji, Nijō-jōKyoto and Shiga Prefecture
The Historic Villages of Shirakawa-gō and Gokayama

Year: 1995
Gasshozukuri architecture style housesGifu and Toyama Prefecture
Hiroshima Peace Memorial (Genbaku Dome)

Year: 1996
The World's first atomic bombing in 1945Hiroshima Prefecture
Itsukushima Shrine

Year: 1996
Shrines and floating torii gateHiroshima Prefectue
The Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara

Year: 1998
Tōdai-ji, Kōfuku-ji, Kasuga Taisha, Gangō-ji, Yakushi-ji, Tōshōdai-ji, Heijō Palace, Kasugayama Primeval ForestNara Prefecture
Shrines and Temples of Nikko

Year: 1998
Futarasan Jinja, Rinnō-ji, Nikkō Tōshō-gūTochigi Prefecture
Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu

Year: 2000
Castle ruins of the Ryukyu KingdomOkinawa Prefecture
Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range

Year: 2004
Sacred sites in Yoshino, Omine, Kumano and Koyasan connected by pilgrimage routesNara, Wakayama, and Mie Prefecture
Shiretoko (Natural Heritage)

Year: 2005
Japan's most beautiful and unspoiled national parkHokkaido Prefecture
Iwami Ginzan Silver Mine and its Cultural Landscape

Year: 2007
The most important silver mine in Japan, discovered in the early 16th century Shimae Prefecture
Historic Monuments and Sites of Hiraizumi

Year: 2011
Historic temples and gardens: Chusonji, Motsuji, Kanjizaioin RuinsIwate Prefecture
Ogasawara Islands (Natural Heritage)

Year: 2011
Subtropical climate, unique plants and animalsTokyo Prefecture
Fujisan - Sacred Place and Source of Artistic Inspiration

Year: 2013
Japan's highest mountain, The Fujisan Hongū Sengen Taisha, Fuji Five Lakes, and so onYamanashi and Shizuoka Prefecture
Tomioka Silk Mill and Related Sites

Year: 2015
Japan's silk industry after the end of the feudal eraGunma Prefecture
Sites of Japan's Meiji Industrial Revolution: Iron and Steel, Shipbuilding and Coal Mining

Year: 2015
A collection of preserved historical sites: Miike coal mine, Hagi, Hashima, Senganen Garden, Nirayama Reverberatory Furnace and etc.Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Kagoshima, Yamaguchi, Iwate, and Shizuoka Prefecture
The Architectural Work of Le Corbusier, an Outstanding Contribution to the Modern Movement

Year: 2016
Museum in Ueno Park designed by Le CorbusierTokyo Prefecture
Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region

Year: 2017
Sacred island and Munakata ShrineFukuoka Prefecture
Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region

Year: 2018
Hidden Christian sites: churches, castle, islands and villageNagasaki and Kumamoto Prefecture
Mozu-Furuichi Kofun Group: Mounded Tombs of Ancient Japan

Year: 2019
Ancient tombs of the 4th to 6th centuriesOsaka Prefecture