Add These UNESCO Heritage Sites on Your Next Trip to Japan

by | May 31, 2019

Japan is a country with a long history that spans centuries. This means that UNESCO buffs will have plenty of places to visit.

If you’re planning to visit the country soon, here are heritage sites to include in your itinerary.


Mt. Fuji

Rising to around 3700m high, Mt. Fuji is the country’s highest mountain and its most iconic backdrop. Artists have drawn it, it has been splashed on magazines and postcards, and local and foreign tourists have admired it from afar or conquered its peak. Some of the best places to see the mountain from a distance is from Fuji Five Lakes and Hakone. You can also see it during a shinkansen ride from Tokyo to Osaka, Kyoto or Nagoya.



This UNESCO-listed village has quaint farmhouses with roofs that look like hands in prayer. The design has a practical use as it allows the homes to withstand heavy snowfall when winter comes around. Take your time wandering and imagine what life was like before. You can enter some of the houses to learn more about them. You could visit throughout the year, but the ideal time is during winter light-up.


Himeji Castle

White Heron Castle is one of the most well-preserved castles in the country. The simple but elegant exterior has made it a popular destination for both foreign and local tourists. This fortification has survived wars and natural disasters. Its location is strategic and its layout was meant to slow down attackers that plan to take the castle.


Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto

Kyoto is a fascinating city that combines the old and new it comes as no surprise that its ancient sites are part of UNESCO’s world heritage list. The Buddhist temples, castle and Shinto shrines have historical and cultural importance to the country. Some of the places that are on the list are Kinkaku-ji, Ryoan-ji, Nijo Castle, Kiyomizu-dera and To-ji just to name a few.


Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara

Nara is famous for the deer park and its historic center. It is a noteworthy destination with a number of UNESCO-listed sites some of which include Todai-ji, Kofuku-ji, Kasuga-taisha and the Kasugayama Primeval Forest just to name some. Get lost in time when you visit the temples and pet and feed the deer during your visit.


Hidden Christian Sites in the Nagasaki Region

Nagasaki is in history books because it was one of the two places (the other Hiroshima) where the atomic bomb was dropped. There are museums and monuments about this all over the city, but Nagasaki is also one of the few places where Christianity planted its roots in the country. The 12 hidden Christian sites were put on the UNESO World Heritage list on January 30, 2018. The places recognized as heritage sites are the Oura Cathedral built in 1864, Shitsu Church built in 1882, Ono Church built in 1893 and the Kuroshima Church built in 1902 just to name some.


Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution

If you’re already in Nagasaki you don’t have to leave to see more UNESCO Heritage Sites. The Former Glover House, Site of Kosuge Ship Repair Dock and the Mitsubishi Nagasaki Shipyard are just three of the heritage sites that are part of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution. The country experienced massive and widespread industrialization during the Meiji and Bakumatsu periods. During this time, the country made huge strides in technology and development. There are sites included on the list outside of Nagasaki; you can find these in Kagoshima, Yamaguchi, Saga, Iwate, Fukuoka and Shizuoka.


Which of these have you been to? Share with us your experience below!

Joshua Berida is a writer by profession and traveler by passion. He writes and posts about his adventures on He likes the outdoors and prefers mountains and hiking to beach bumming, but he wouldn't mind lazing on a white sand beach and swimming in its clear, blue waters.


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