No girls allowed: Japan's men-only island gets UNESCO nod

Yazd Inscribed on World Heritage List

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization just declared it a because of its rich archaeological and religious heritage.

The Unesco World Heritage List Committee added the sacred and restricted-access island along with nine other sites including ancient caves in west Germany with art dating back to the Ice Age and disused silver ore mines in southern Poland.

From the 4th to 9th centuries, large scale rituals were conducted on the island, during which prayers were performed for safe ocean voyagers, according to the Okinoshima Heritage website. In order to be selected as a World Heritage Site, the location must meet at least one out of ten selection criteria, which includes descriptors such as representing "a masterpiece of human creative genius" and being "an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use or sea-use which is representative of a culture".

Additionally, unlike most historical sites that welcome tourists all year around, Okinoshima is only opened to the general public on the 27th of May of each year.

Okinoshima, which was declared a world heritage site by U.N.'s cultural body, is home to the Okitsu shrine.

The listing on UNESCO world heritage site means the island will receive funds to maintain itself in good condition. When the men leave, they can not take any souvenir or disclose details of their visit, as BBC reported.

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Okitsugu shrine of the Munakata Taisha at Okinoshima island, some 60 kilometres from Munakata city, Fukuoka prefecture.

"Shinto treats blood as an impurity".

It's the ultimate "dude ranch", a secret island where for centuries women have been forbidden.

The island, midway between Japan's southwestern main island of Kyushu and the Korean Peninsula, upholds ancient rules restricting entry, including a total ban on women visitors. Other accounts said women were not allowed to participate in maritime travel because it was considered risky and the men wanted to ensure the safety of child-bearers.

In January 2016, when Japan nominated the island to UNESCO, the chief priest at the Munakata Taisha Shrine, Takayuki Ashizu, told the Japan Times that he and the local population opposed mass tourism to Okinoshima, which locals refer to as "an island where gods reside".

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