About Natural World Heritage

What is World Heritage?

World Heritage is an irreplaceable asset of mankind as a whole and is a treasure to be handed over to future generations.

There are two kinds of World Heritage: Cultural Heritage and Natural Heritage, and to be included on the World Heritage List as a natural site, one or more of the four criteria must be met: topography and geology, ecosystem, natural landscape, and biodiversity. 

The Ogasawara Islands meet the criterion of ecosystem and were designated as a Natural World Heritage site in June 2011.

Four criteria

Criteria for Selection

Natural LandscapeTo contain superlative natural phenomena or areas of exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance
To be an outstanding example representing major stages of earth’s history, including the record of life, significant on-going geological processes in the development of landforms, or significant geomorphic or physiographic features
EcosystemTo be an outstanding example representing significant on-going ecological and biological processes in the evolution and development of terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems, and communities of plants and animals
BiodiversityTo contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation

In Japan, other than the Ogasawara Islands, Shiretoko, Shirakami-Sanchi, Yakushima, and Amami-Oshima Island, Tokunoshima Island, northern part of Okinawa Island, and Iriomote Islands have been inscribed on the Natural World Heritage List.

Natural World Heritage sites in Japan