Tags: okinoshima | island | japan | unesco | world heritage site

Okinoshima Island in Japan Declared UNESCO World Heritage Site

Image: Okinoshima Island in Japan Declared UNESCO World Heritage Site

Photo taken in November 2015 shows Munakata Grand Shrine's Okitsu no Miya pavilion on Okinoshima Island off Fukuoka Prefecture. (Kyodo via AP Images)

By    |   Monday, 10 Jul 2017 01:17 PM

Okinoshima, a religious island in Japan where women are banned, has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.

The announcement was made public on Sunday when the World Heritage Committee, which had been meeting in Krakow, Poland, since last week, revealed the final sites to make UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

The sacred Japanese site, which bans women visitors and requires men to strip naked and follow a cleansing routine before stepping onto the island, cracked the nod from the World Heritage Committee for its tradition of worship.

"The archaeological sites that have been preserved on the Island are virtually intact, and provide a chronological record of how the rituals performed there changed from the 4th to the 9th centuries CE," UNESCO said in a statement.

"In these rituals, votive objects were deposited as offerings at different sites on the Island. Many of them are of exquisite workmanship and had been brought from overseas, providing evidence of intense exchanges between the Japanese archipelago, the Korean Peninsula and the Asian continent. Integrated within the Grand Shrine of Munakata, the island of Okinoshima is considered sacred to this day."

From the 4th to 9th centuries, large scale rituals were conducted on the island, during which prayers were performed for safe ocean voyagers, according to the Okinoshima Heritage website.

Many of these ritual sites have remained relatively intact due to the taboos that strictly limit island access.

"Written records of ancient rituals in Japan appear only from the 8th century onward, so the ritual sites on Okinoshima are an essential source of information about the formative stages of indigenous faith in Japan," noted Okinoshima Heritage.

Earlier rituals were performed on top of gigantic boulders.

They were later conducted in the shadows of these rocks and progressed to open air ritual.

This evolution shaped the faith in the Three Goddesses of Munakata.

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Okinoshima, a religious island in Japan where women are banned, has been declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO.
okinoshima, island, japan, unesco, world heritage site
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2017-17-10
Monday, 10 Jul 2017 01:17 PM
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