It has been 11 years since Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture, a mountain range that straddles Akita and Aomori prefectures, was registered as a World Heritage Site in 30 days. Locally, a commemorative ceremony was held.

Shirakami Mountains "We were able to preserve it, but there are also issues" Mayor

The Shirakami Mountains are a general term for a vast mountainous area that straddles Akita and Aomori prefectures, and because of the world's largest spread of beech forests that are almost untouched by humans, it was registered as a World Natural Heritage Site for the first time in Japan along with Yakushima Island in Kagoshima Prefecture on December 30, 5 years ago.

At the Shirakami Mountains World Heritage Center in Fujisato Town, a commemorative ceremony was held on the 12th, and a kusudama was broken to celebrate.

There are various restrictions on entering the mountain from the Akita side of the Shirakami Mountains, such as the lack of maintained mountain trails, and the number of visitors to the Shirakami Mountains is decreasing year by year, and the number of visitors last year was more than 1,6200, which is about 20% of the peak.

In addition, the number of guides is aging, and Akita Prefecture established a certification system five years ago to promote human resource development.

Fumiaki Sasaki, Mayor
of Fujisato Town, Akita Prefecture: "It has been 30 years in the blink of an eye, and although we have been able to preserve it, there are still many issues to be solved in terms of regional development, so I would like to work with the national government to promote the development of the surrounding area and train guides."

Himeji Castle Admission is free, and photography service is also available.

Himeji Castle in Hyogo Prefecture became the first city in Japan to be registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site on December 1993, 12, along with the "Buddhist Buildings in the Horyuji Area" in Nara Prefecture.

To commemorate this, on the 11th, admission to Himeji Castle, the garden of the adjacent samurai mansion ruins, "Kokoen" and other surrounding facilities was free, and about 11 people lined up at the entrance of the castle before the gate opened at 9 am.

After passing through the Hishi-no-mon, the largest gate in Himeji Castle, visitors were able to look around the castle as they pleased.

There was also a service where you could take two photos with Himeji Castle in the background, and visitors wrote a commemorative message on one of them and pasted it on the board.

A man in his 30s from Himeji City said, "Himeji Castle is a symbol of the hearts of the citizens of Himeji, so I hope it will be preserved while being renovated."

A woman in her 3s from Himeji City, who had her photo taken with her 30-year-old daughter, said, "Himeji Castle is a symbol of the city, and I want it to be preserved for the next generation."

Himeji Castle is open until 5 p.m.