Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu

Gusuku© Japan Photo Encyclopedia



Date of Inscription: 2000
Criteria: C (ii) (iii) (vi)










Brief Description



Five hundred years of Ryukyuan history (12th-17th century) are represented by this group of sites and monuments. The ruins of the castles, on imposing elevated sites, are evidence for the social structure over much of that period, while the sacred sites provide mute testimony to the rare survival of an ancient form of religion into the modern age. The wide- ranging economic and cultural contacts of the Ryukyu Islands over that period gave rise to a unique culture.


 Ryukyu Islands©UNESCO 2003  Ryukyu Islands© Japan Photo Encyclopedia


Justification for Inscription


Criterion ii: For several centuries the Ryukyu islands served as a centre of economic and cultural interchange between south-east Asia, China, Korea, and Japan, and this is vividly demonstrated by the surviving monuments.


Criterion iii The culture of the Ryukyuan Kingdom evolved and flourished in a special political and economic environment, which gave its culture a unique quality.


Criterion vi The Ryukyu sacred sites constitute an exceptional example of an indigenous form of nature and ancestor worship which has survived intact into the modern age alongside other established world religions.








Advisory Body Evaluation (pdf )



Links :


UNESCO World Heritage Website


Japan Endless Discovery (JNTO Website)

Visiting Japan Links (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan)


World Heritage in Japan



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