World Heritage sites and temples in the ancient capitals of Kyoto and Nara, both home to many of Japan's most historic cultural properties, have been vandalized recently in a similar manner, according to police.

On Thursday, spotting with an oil-like liquid was found at Toji, a World Heritage temple in Kyoto, and at Kashihara Shrine and Abemonjuin Temple, both in Nara Prefecture.

Similar vandalism was also confirmed at Kashima Shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture, Katori Shrine in Chiba Prefecture, and Kotohira Shrine in Kagawa Prefecture, bringing the number of affected temples and shrines to 16 in five prefectures.

The Agency for Cultural Affairs said Thursday it has sent notices to prefectural education boards across the country to strengthen security against such acts of vandalism.

At Toji, liquid spots were found in its Mieido Hall, designated a national treasure, at a gate deemed an important cultural artifact, and at other locations during a check prompted by news of vandalism elsewhere.

Such vandalism has also been found at buildings and Buddha statues considered national treasures at other World Heritage sites and well-known temples such as Hasedera, Okadera and Kinpusenji in Nara, as well as Nijo Castle in Kyoto.

At Kashima Shrine in Ibaraki Prefecture, oily liquid spots were also found Thursday in the pavilion and other places, police said.

At Abemonjuin, such liquid spots were found in the Kinkaku-Ukimido pavilion on Wednesday night and at the Hakusando pavilion, a national important cultural property, on Thursday morning.