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Shirakami-Sanchi World Heritage Site

Shirakami-Sanchi, Japan

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Shirakami-Sanchi (白神山地?, lit. white god mountain area) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in northern Honshū, Japan. This mountainous, unspoiled expanse of virgin forest straddles both Akita and Aomori Prefectures. Of the entire 1,300 km², a tract covering 169.7 km² was included in the list of World Heritage Sites in 1993. Siebold's beech trees make up a large portion of the forest.

The Shirakami-Sanchi was one of the first sites entered on the World Heritage List in Japan, along with Yakushima, Himeji Castle, and Buddhist Monuments in the Hōryū-ji Area in 1993. The Shirakami-Sanchi is usually said to contain large areas of forest not covered by the World Heritage listing. However the level of preservation in these areas is not as high as in the central listed area. The World Heritage Site area has never been opened to human activity or trails other than mountain climbers' paths, and is planned to be protected in this state. Permission is needed from Forest Management to enter the heart of the Shirakami-Sanchi. Fishing requires permission from both the Fishing Cooperative and Forest Management.

The beech tree is usually unsuitable for cultivation of the Shiitake mushroom. Therefore beech forests have never been disturbed by Shiitake farmers and remain in a state of preservation much greater than that of surrounding forests. Apart from beech trees, Katsura, Kalopanax, Japanese Hop-hornbeam and other species of tall deciduous trees are found in the forest.

These triple falls in the World Heritage Site are easily accessible on foot and are a popular sightseeing destination.

Shirakami-Sanchi is bordered on the east by Tsugaru quasi-national park.

Shirakami-dake is the highest peak in Shirakami-Sanchi. It is 1,232 m (4,042 ft) in height. From the summit, fantastic views over the surrounding country can be seen; however the peak itself is not a part of the World Heritage Site and, as such, permission is not necessary to climb. The summit is equipped with toilet and shelter facilities.

At the foot of the Shirakami-Sanchi, the town of Hachimori in the Yamamoto District of Akita prefecture holds an annual concert in the open air.

Coordinates: 40°28′12″N 140°07′48″E / 40.47000°N 140.13000°E / 40.47000; 140.13000

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Latest activity in this protected area

  • 54b60831cce64518724facfcc0b2dc8c

    Protected Area updated by IUCN, facilitated by UNEP-WCMC

    almost 3 years ago

    Modified Geometry, Management Authority, No Take Area km2 and 5 more attributes see details >
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    charlesb updated the Community Protected Area ...

    over 4 years ago

    Modified see details >
  • Normal_img_0167_1_

    charlesb updated the Community Protected Area ...

    over 4 years ago

    Modified see details >

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Official Record

  • WDPA ID68915
  • NameShirakami-Sanchi
  • Original NameShirakami-Sanchi
  • Country / TerritoryJPN
  • Sub locationJP-02

    Data difference




    Not Reported

  • IUCN CategoryNot ApplicableWhat is this?

    Data difference


    Not Applicable



  • English DesignationWorld Heritage Site
  • Designation TypeInternational
  • StatusInscribed
  • Status Year1993
  • Reported Area km2169.71
  • Marinefalse
  • Governance TypeNot Reported
  • International Criteria(ix)
  • Management AuthorityNot Reported
  • Management Plan URLNot Reported




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IUCN (2012)

The boundaries and names shown, and the designations used on this map do not imply official endorsement or acceptance by the United Nations.


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