Ogasawara Islands Japan

Ogasawara Islands more than 30 islands clustered in three groups and covers surface area of 7,939 hectares. The islands offer a variety of landscapes and are home to a wealth of fauna, including the Bonin Flying Fox, a critically endangered bat, and 195 endangered bird species. Four-hundred and forty-one native plant taxa have been documented on the islands whose waters support numerous species of fish, cetaceans and corals. Ogasawara Islands' ecosystems reflect a range of evolutionary processes illustrated through its assemblage of plant species from both southeast and northwest Asia, alongside many endemic species.

Ogasawara Islands
Continent: Asia
Country: Japan
Category: Natural
Criterion: (IX)
Date of Inscription: 2011

The Ogasawara Islands Heritage

The Ogasawara Islands are located in the North-Western Pacific Ocean roughly 1,000 km south of the main Japanese Archipelago. The serial property is comprised of five components within an extension of about 400 km from north to south and includes more than 30 islands, clustered within three island groups of the Ogasawara Archipelago: Mukojima, Chichijima and Hahajima, plus an additional three individual islands: Kita-iwoto and Minami-iwoto of the Kazan group and the isolated Nishinoshima Island.

These islands rest along the Izu-Ogasawara Arc Trench System. The property totals 7,939 ha comprising a terrestrial area of 6,358 ha and a marine area of 1,581 ha. Today only two of the islands within the property are inhabited, Chichijima and Hahajima. The site was declared as UNESCO heritage in 2011.

Ogasawara Islands Heritage
Ogasawara Islands

Browse Gallery Plus UNESCO Storyline

Subtropical forest

The landscape is dominated by subtropical forest types and sclerophyllous shrublands surrounded by steep cliffs. There are more than 440 species of native vascular plants with exceptionally concentrated rates of endemism as high as 70% in woody plants. The islands are the habitat for more than 100 recorded native land snail species, over 90% of which are endemic to the islands.

The islands serve as an outstanding example of the ongoing evolutionary processes in oceanic island ecosystems, as evidenced by the high levels of endemism; speciation through adaptive radiation; evolution of marine species into terrestrial species; and their importance for the scientific study of such processes.

Slideshow for this Heritage Site

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