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The World Heritage Sites of Japan

Dated : 21 Mar 2015

The World Heritage Sites of Japan


Gallery Gitanjali in collaboration with the Japan Foundation will be hosting “The World Heritage Sites of Japan” an exhibition of a selection of works by photographer Kazuyoshi Miyoshi. The exhibition will open on 27th March 2015, 5.30 pm and will be on display till 10th April 2015.


An Introduction to The World Heritage Sites in Japan:


Mankind has built great civilizations, plenitude of unique cultures, and in the wake of four million years of natural history we find ourselves today immersed in a cultural and natural heritage with no apparent bounds or limits.  But the doings of men have often interfered with nature, sometimes even causing its ruin.  It is our charge today to preserve the great heritage of nature, as well as the cultures of mankind. 


The World Heritage Convention is a document adopted in 1972 by a general session of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) in Paris.  Its aims are to preserve for future generations cultural and natural legacies of world with conspicuous and universal value.


Japan and 186 other countries had signed the convention by July 2011.  By signing, these countries pledged to the world that they would preserve the legacies within their lands for future generations, and that they accepted the obligation and responsibility to cooperate with other countries in protecting common World Heritage legacies of mankind. As of July 2011, there were 936 World Heritage  sites.


The World Heritage site of Japan that were registered in 1993 for the first time included the "Shirakami-Sanchi Mountain Range", "Yaku-shima Island", "Himeji-jo Castle" and the "Buddhist monuments of the Horyu-ji Temple Area".


In the following years and through the end of 1999, "Genbaku Dome", "Itsukushima-jinja Shrine", the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara", the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto City, Uji City and Otsu City)", the "Gassho-zukuri Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama" and the "Shrines and Temples of Nikko" were added to the list.


At the end of 2000, "Gusuku site and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu" that include Shuri-jo Castle among others were added to the list.


In 2004, "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range and the Cultural Landscapes that Surroud Them" were added to the list.    


In 2005, "Shiretoko" was added to the list of Natural Property.

" Iwami- Ginzan Silver Mine" was added to the list of Cultural Property in July 2008,


In June 2011, "Ogasawara Islands" was added to the list of  Natural Property and "Hiraizumi - Temples, Gardens and Archaelogical Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land" was added to the list of Cultural Property.


About Kazuyoshi Miyoshi


Born in 1958 in Tokushima Prefecture.


Graduated from Tokai University in 1981 (School of Letters, Department of Mass Communications).

Founded Rakuen Co., Ltd. in 1981.

Received the Kimura Ihei award for his book of photographs, Rakuen (Paradise), in 1985.  At twenty-seven-years old, this made him the youngest awardee ever.

Beginning with a visit to Okinawa at the age of thirteen, he traveled extensively to photograph regions all over the world, including the Maldives, Tahiti, Africa, India, and in recent years, the Himalayas and Antarctic Pole.  He applies the theme "Rakuen," or paradise, to his collection of photographs from his travels.

His works are included in the permanent collection of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in the USA.

Miyoshi's book of photographs, The World Heritage in Japan, was published in 1998.

Since 1999, The Japan Foundation has purchased 63 photos (as of March 2009) from World Heritage Sites in Japan in order to promote Japanese culture. Since then, each time a new site is added to the world heritage list, new photographs are added to the collection, and exhibitions are held in many locations throughout the world.

Since 2007, he has been photographing images of Buddha, which are national treasures in Kyoto and Nara.  From 2008, he started taking pictures of Kyoto-Gosho Imperial Palace and Katsura-rikyu Detached Palace.


Nestled in the quaint Latin quarter of Fontainhas is a cafe in an Art Gallery housed in a century old heritage building .A quiet place for a conversation over good coffee , the gallery also has interesting books on art to browse through while you sip your espresso and enjoy the paintings and sculpture.