1.         Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration (Japan) (C 1418)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  2013

Criteria  (iii)(vi)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1418/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0
Total amount approved: USD 0
For details, see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1418/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

N/A

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1418/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

On 26 November 2018, the State Party submitted a comprehensive state of conservation report, which is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/1418/documents and summarizes actions in the following areas:

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

The State Party continues to deliver management and protection within the framework of the agreed vision for the property that aims to find harmonious solutions to the conflicting needs of access and recreation and of maintaining the spiritual and aesthetic qualities of the mountain. The property and its buffer zone are managed “as an entity” and “as a cultural landscape’, as requested by the Committee, in ways that promote sustainable tourism and sustainable land use. The various components of the management structure, i.e. the Fujisan World Cultural Heritage Council, the Fujisan World Cultural Heritage Academic Committee and the working groups of the Council, are fully operational.

Good progress has been made across all six specific areas identified at the time of inscription. The approach to research, involving meticulous data collection and analysis, is exemplary, as is the application of this research to day-to-day operations. For example, after compiling extensive data on visitor numbers, the State Party was able to determine specific dates, hours, and places for congestion. The objective was not simply to control numbers, but to ensure a “desired style of Fujisan ascent” for different user groups.

Research works on the lower historic pilgrimage routes has led to the delineation of lower pilgrim routes to encourage visitors to visit the associated component sites and thus help spread the visitor load. It is also leading to a better understanding of the essential historic and spiritual links between the lower and upper pilgrimage routes.

The two new Fujisan World Heritage Visitor Centres not only offer information and interpretation, but also play a larger role as centres for undertaking, utilizing and promoting research as well as educational work.

Work on improving visual harmonization has continued, including the use of improved materials and engineering methods for maintenance and repair work on the ascending routes, more harmonious designs for signboards and guidelines for huts on one of the upper access routes. Fixed point monitoring will help to ensure that key views are maintained.

Progress with addressing development control measures continues, in response to the need identified at the time of inscription to control more tightly the scale and location of buildings, especially on the lower flanks of mountains. Efforts have been made to realise the early detection of development pressure in the mountain-foot area, to enforce administrative procedures based on consensus with local people, and to harness the momentum of society in favour of conservation. Short-term measures related to visual harmonization are being put in place and will be followed by measures for more ‘fundamental solutions’.

Encouragingly, the State Party reports that it has taken every opportunity to share Fujisan’s conservation and management practices at meetings in China and Mongolia, as well as around Japan.

Given the scale and scope of the management issues inherent to such a large, complex property, it is considered that the State Party made the substantial progress setting out and operationalizing a coherent and coordinated management and protection framework, promoting positive actions to improve aesthetics and visitor experience, harnessing cooperation from visitors and local communities, and raising awareness and appreciation of the sacred nature of the mountain and the extent and complexity of its pilgrim routes and shrines – all of which were vulnerable at the time of inscription.

The one area where more specific details and timeframes are needed is in relation to progress with measures to improve development control around the lower slopes of the mountain. It is considered that this further information could be submitted for review by the World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies.

Decision Adopted: 43 COM 7B.66

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 40 COM 7B.39, adopted at its 40th session (Istanbul/UNESCO, 2016),
  3. Acknowledges that the State Party is continuing to carry out its management and protection duties within the agreed vision for the property, which aims to find harmonious solutions to the conflicting needs of access and recreation and of maintaining the spiritual and aesthetic qualities of the mountain on the other hand;
  4. Also acknowledges that the property and its buffer zone are managed “as an entity” and “as a cultural landscape”, as requested by the Committee, and in ways that promote sustainable tourism and land use, and that the various components of the management structure are now fully operational;
  5. Welcomes the substantial progress that has been made across all the six specific areas identified at the time of inscription, including:
    1. The detailed research work, carried out in relation to understanding the needs and movement of visitors on the upper access routes, and its use to ensure a “desired style of Fujisan ascent” for different user groups to help control erosion and promote an approach more sympathetic to the spiritual aspects of the mountain,
    2. The detailed research into the pilgrim sites and routes in the lower slopes that has fed into an interpretation strategy to encourage visitor access to these, to promote understanding of the links between the upper and lower routes, and to spread the visitor load,
    3. The two new Fujisan World Heritage Visitor Centres that not only provide information and interpretation, but also play a larger role as centres for undertaking, utilizing and promoting research as well as educational work,
    4. The response to the need to control the scale and location of buildings more tightly, which was identified at the time of inscription, especially on the lower flanks of mountains; this response encompasses short-term measures related to visual harmonization, along with further development control measures for more “fundamental solutions”;
  6. Requests the State Party to provide, once it is available, further information on the proposed new development control measures, along with details and an overall timeframe for their implementation, for review by the World Heritage Centre and Advisory Bodies;
  7. Also welcomes the work undertaken by the State Party to share Fujisan’s conservation and management practices at meetings in China and Mongolia and with other similar property, as well as around Japan;
  8. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2020, a report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for review by the Advisory Bodies.