Kamakura disappointed by snub

Kyodo

Residents, officials and admirers of Kamakura expressed disappointment Wednesday at the decision by an UNESCO advisory panel not to put the ancient city on the World Heritage list.

In turning down Japan’s request, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, or ICOMOS, cited scarce assets directly linked to the medieval shogunate rule in the coastal city, according to the Cultural Affairs Agency.

“I feel regret as I had been waiting for good news,” Kamakura Mayor Takashi Matsuo told a news conference.

Matsuo said he is aware of the need to accelerate the restoration of ruins in Kamakura to make the city “a place about which we can boast to the world.”

Kanagawa Gov. Yuji Kuroiwa said he was “shocked and felt as if everything around me became black” after hearing the ICOMOS decision.

Hiroshi Takami, a 58-year-old tourist from the nearby city of Yokohama, was discouraged by the panel decision, saying Kamakura is “a city symbolizing the hearts of Japanese people” and is “known for its history.”

However, Yoshiharu Hirahara, 78, who moved to Kamakura after retirement, said he thinks it would be difficult for the city to be listed as a World Heritage site even if the government reviews the proposal and makes a fresh request, since the many tourists cause traffic jams and other problems.

A 64-year-old woman from Gifu Prefecture who was visiting Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura said it seems the city has fewer tourist attractions than Nikko, Tochigi Prefecture, which has been designated as a World Heritage site.