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What’s Unique about Okinoshima, Japan’s New UNESCO World Heritage Site?

The Japanese island of Okinoshima is home to rich biodiversity and a trove of archaeological artifacts dating back to the 4th century. However, Okinoshima, which became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2017, is also noteworthy for the strict gender rules that apply to all visitors. In accordance with ancient Shinto tradition, women are not allowed to set foot on the island. Although the exact reason for this is unknown, women have never been allowed to visit the sacred island. Furthermore, men are only permitted to visit the island after the completion of a set of strict rituals. Only 200 men are allowed to visit Okinoshima each year, during a festival held annually on 27 May.

More about Okinoshima:

  • Men who visit Okinoshima are not allowed to remove anything from the island and they are not allowed to tell other people about their trip.

  • Between the 4th and 9th centuries, the shrines of Okinoshima were visited by sea traders who made offerings and prayed for a safe journey to their destinations.

  • Around 80,000 artifacts have been uncovered on Okinoshima.

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More Info: The Washington Post

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