When overseas exchange flourished in ancient East Asia, the local population in this maritime region nurtured a cultural tradition of worshipping the sacred island of Okinoshima.
 Ritual archaeological sites on the island, together with an enormous quantity of votive offerings, have survived almost intact for over a millennium.
 A site that reveals five hundred years of ancient rituals in transition chronicles the formation of indigenous Japanese beliefs. As religious faith in the three goddesses emerged, an ancient faith was passed down through traditional taboos that protect the island.
 The Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region are an unparalleled piece of surviving evidence concerning the formation and transmission of this tradition.
  • Criterion (ii)

    To exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design.

    The change and development of rituals from the 4th to the 9th centuries to which the archaeological evidence of this property bears witness represent the overseas exchange of human values in ancient East Asia.
     The inhabitants of the Munakata region who worshipped Okinoshima for maritime safety played a significant role in overseas exchange, which contributed to ancient Japan's advancement in the political, social and religious realms.Okinoshima's ritual artifacts include many rare objects from abroad that serve as valuable pieces of evidence for overseas exchange at the time.

  • Criterion (iii)

    To be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal signicance.

    This property serves as a rare piece of evidence chronicling an ongoing process: the formation of the cultural tradition of worshipping this sacred island, within the context of how ancient ritual changed and developed.
     Archaeological sites that survive almost intact on Okinoshima offer a chronological account of ritual development there. Rituals dedicated to the Three Goddesses of Munakata were performed at the three shrines of Munakata Taisha, located on the islands of Okinoshima, Oshima, and Kyushu. The Shimbaru-Nuyama Mounded Tomb Group survives as tangible evidence concerning the inhabitants of Munakata who created this cultural tradition. Okinoshima itself is the object of worship. The taboos and customs related to worshipping the sacred island from afar have been passed down to the present day at Okitsu-miya Yohaisho on the island of Oshima and other sites.

  • Criterion (vi)

    To be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.

    The worship of Okinoshima, which originates in the ancient connection between the local population and nature, has been passed down continuously to this day as the worship of the Three Goddesses of Munakata, a tangible expression of Japanese indigenous beliefs.
     This faith still survives among the local population in Munakata, together with taboos prohibiting visits to the sacred island, as a living tradition that is integral to the people's daily lives. The Three Goddesses of Munakata are worshipped at some 6,000,Shinto shrines throughout Japan.The ritual archaeological sites on Okinoshima, where this system of belief originated, bear witness to the formation of this set of indigenous beliefs and its survival to the present day.

A World Heritage Site is a place listed by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), that is considered to be of outstanding universal value to humanity, based on the World Heritage Convention. The World Heritage List consists of cultural, natural, and mixed properties.
 The World Heritage Committee decides whether a property meets the criteria necessary for it to be inscribed on the list.
The Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region have been on Japan's Tentative List of World Heritage Sites since 2009, and are being considered according to the three criteria described avobe.

The Value of the Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region

The Value of the Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region

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