Transboundary governing structure for the World Heritage Property

Besides containing cultural heritage designated under the Law for the Protection of Cultural Property enforced by the Agency for Cultural Affairs, the property contains areas that conform the Yoshino-Kumano National Park which administration is in charge of the Ministry of the Environment and the three prefectures that are related to it: Wakayama, Nara and Mie, and their local authorities. The Three Prefectures’ Council for the World Heritage Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range, was first established to pursue the nomination to the World Heritage List, and after the inscription, it is in charge of coordinating conservation actions and developing the management plan. The governors of the three prefectures serve as chairpersons and vice chairpersons, while the mayors and heads of education of the municipalities serve as members of the council. The Agency for Cultural Affairs participates as an observer. The protection of cultural properties is carried out in cooperation with the department of cultural property protection and regional development of each prefecture and the person in charge of the municipality.  In addition, the Council is advised by a scientific committee consisting of experts from several fields.

The strong interest of the three prefectures and the government in inscribing the Kii Mountains cultural landscape in the World Heritage List enabled the establishment of a partnership between the prefectures and the governmental institutions in charge of conservation in order to develop and pursue the nomination.

In accordance to the recommendations of the World Heritage Committee at the time of the inscription, the three prefectures formulated a comprehensive conservation management plan and established a system in which the three prefectural councils take the lead in conservation and management. This system had a major impact on the way in which several prefectures in Japan nominated other sites for inscription on the World Heritage List and managed its conservation such as Fujisan, sacred place and source of artistic inspiration (Mount Fuji).