Important Cultural Properties of Japan

item judged by the Agency for Cultural Affairs to be of particular importance to the Japanese people

Important Cultural Properties of Japan (重要文化財, jūyō bunkazai, important cultural properties)[note 1] is a list of items made by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs. These are places and things that are especially important to the Japanese people.[1]

Sankei-en's Rinshunkaku in Yokohama is a nationally designated Important Cultural Property

Types of Cultural PropertiesEdit

Japan's government made a Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties a "designation system" (指定制度) to protect its culture. It chooses important items and names them as Cultural Properties[note 2] The law sets rules about changing, repairing, or exporting these items.[1]

There is also "registration system" (登録制度), which sets a lower level of protection and support for Registered Cultural Properties than for Designated Cultural Properties.

There are different levels of designation. Designation can be at a city (市定重要文化財, city designated Important Cultural Property), prefectural (県定重要文化財, prefecturally designated Important Cultural Property) or national (国定重要文化財, nationally designated Important Cultural Property) level.

Designations of a different level can coexist. For example, Sankei-en, a traditional Japanese-style garden in Naka Ward, Yokohama, owns both city designated and nationally designated Important Cultural Properties.[2]

Some Important Cultural Properties of JapanEdit


  1. The term is often shortened into just jūbun (重文)
  2. In this article, capitals indicate an official designation as opposed to a simple, unofficial definition, e.g. "Cultural Properties" as opposed to "cultural properties".


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Cultural Properties for Future Generations" (PDF). Administration of Cultural Affairs in Japan ― Fiscal 2009. Agency for Cultural Affairs. 2007-06. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  2. Yokohama Sankei Garden, Sankei-en's official site accessed on November 3, 2009 (in Japanese)