International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property


N.B.: General country data and external links have been provided by the Member State. * Uploaded: 07/2020

General Country data

The main cultural assets of Japan

Located in the eastern edge of the Asian continent, Japan is blessed with a rich nature, which shows a great variety throughout the seasons. It has fostered its own culture through repeated cultural exchanges with countries abroad over a long period of time. Today, they are invaluable national assets, and thus, the national and local governments work together with the owners of cultural properties to protect these assets. Especially important ones are those that have been designated by the national government as National Treasures or Important Cultural Properties, etc., under the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties of Japan.

As of 1 June 2020, the number of the designated cultural properties is as follows:

[Designation] National Treasures and Important Cultural Properties

  • Fine Arts and Crafts: 10 772 Important Cultural Properties (of which 893 National Treasures)
  • Structures: 2 509 Important Cultural Properties (of which 227 National Treasures)

Total: 13 281 Important Cultural Properties (5 122 buildings), of which 1 120 National Treasures (290 buildings).

[Designation] Historic Sites, Places of Scenic Beauty, and Natural Monuments

  • Historic Sites: 1 847 items (of which 63 Special Historic Sites)
  • Places of Scenic Beauty: 422 items (of which 36 Special Places of Scenic Beauty)
  • Natural Monuments: 1 031 items (of which 75 Special Natural Monuments)

Total: 3 300 (3 185) items, of which 174 (164) are Special Historic Sites, Special Places of Scenic Beauty, and Special Natural Monuments. Note: Historic sites, places of scenic beauty, and natural monuments may be repeatedly designated, the number in brackets are actually designated.

[Designation] Important Intangible Cultural Properties

  • Performing Arts: Individual Recognition [No. of designations: 37 items; No. of holders: 58 persons (58)]; Group Recognition [No. of designations: 14 items; No. of holders: 14 persons]
  • Craft Techniques: Individual Recognition [No. of designations: 39 items; No. of holders: 58 persons (57)]; Group Recognition [No. of designations: 16 items; No. of holders: 16 persons]

Total: Individual Recognition [No. of designations: 76 items; No. of holders: 116 persons (115)]; Group Recognition [No. of designations: 30 items; No. of holders: 30 persons]. Note: Some holders receive multiple recognitions; the number in brackets indicates the actual number of individuals.

[Designation] Important Tangible Folk Cultural Properties: 223 items

[Designation] Important Intangible Folk Cultural Properties: 318 items

[Selection] Important Cultural Landscapes: 65 items

[Selection] Important Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings: 120 items

[Selection] Selected Conservation Techniques

  • Number of selections: 75 items
  • Holders: 47 items; 53 persons
  • Preservation Groups: 37 items; 39 (34) groups

Note: Some preservation groups receive multiple recognitions; the number in brackets indicates the actual number of groups.

The legal framework on cultural heritage conservation

The Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties serves as the main legal framework for the conservation of cultural heritage in Japan. Its purpose is to enhance national culture and contribute to the evolution of world culture through the protection of cultural properties.

The Law covers both tangible and intangible cultural properties, as well as the techniques necessary for the preservation of such cultural properties. Tangible cultural properties consist of structures, fine arts and crafts, tangible folk cultural properties, ancient sites, places of scenic beauty, animals, plants, geological and mineral formations, and cultural landscapes. Intangible cultural properties consist of performing arts, craft techniques and intangible folk cultural properties.

Out of these cultural properties, the national government designates, selects, or registers important items in their respective categories as National Treasures or Important Cultural Heritage, etc. The designated cultural properties receive certain restrictions on changing the current condition or on export, etc. On the other hand, the national and local governments provide financial and technical support through subsidies for conservation and repair, promotion of disaster-prevention measures, etc.

The cultural and natural sites on the World Heritage List

Japan has nineteen cultural properties and four natural sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List, and twenty-one intangible assets are present on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list.

Adhesion to ICCROM

Japan is a Member State of ICCROM since 19/12/1967


Mandates in ICCROM Council since 1958:

  • 1969-1975: Tomokichi Iwasaki
  • 1975-1983: Bunsaku Kurata
  • 1983-1990: Nobuo Ito
  • 1990-1993: Hisao Mabuchi
  • 1994-2003: Sadatoshi Miura
  • 2004-2011: Satoshi Yamato
  • 2012-2019: Wataru Kawanobe
  • 2020-2023: Kazuhiko Nishi

ICCROM Staff since 1959: 10 (of which 11 seconded)

Involvement of Japanese Nationals

Activities in/with Japan since 2002

Activities details

Activities details

  • 2002 - 1 Course(s), 2 Mission(s)
  • 2003 - 2 Course(s), 7 Mission(s)
  • 2004 - 2 Course(s), 5 Mission(s)
  • 2005 - 2 Course(s), 4 Mission(s)
  • 2006 - 2 Course(s), 4 Mission(s)
  • 2007 - 2 Course(s), 6 Mission(s)
  • 2008 - 2 Course(s), 5 Mission(s)
  • 2009 - 2 Course(s), 7 Mission(s)
  • 2010 - 2 Course(s), 9 Mission(s)
  • 2011 - 2 Course(s), 8 Mission(s)
  • 2012 - 4 Course(s), 11 Mission(s)
  • 2013 - 4 Course(s), 7 Mission(s)
  • 2014 - 4 Course(s), 9 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2015 - 4 Course(s), 6 Mission(s), 1 Technical assistance(s)
  • 2016 - 6 Course(s), 10 Mission(s), 5 Partnership(s)
  • 2017 - 5 Course(s), 9 Mission(s), 2 Partnership(s)
  • 2018 - 5 Course(s), 8 Mission(s), 1 Partnership(s)
  • 2019 - 6 Course(s), 7 Mission(s)
  • 2020 - 1 Mission(s)

External links

* ICCROM reserves the right to moderate the content provided by Member States for country profiles to ensure that they remain within the scope of ICCROM’s mission and pertinent to cultural heritage. However, ICCROM does not take responsibility for the accuracy and validity of the content supplied. The ideas and opinions expressed are those of the Member States.