The Council for Cultural Affairs has picked a group of five ancient monuments in Fukuoka Prefecture as a candidate for UNESCO cultural heritage status in 2017.
The government will recommend the Munakata-Okinoshima monuments to UNESCO by next Feb. 1 for screening by the World Heritage Committee in summer 2017.
The monuments include the island of Okinoshima, which lies midway between Kyushu and the Korean Peninsula.
The island is home to Okitsu-Miya Shrine, which was used for prayer rituals for Japan’s successful exchange with the Asian continent in the fourth to ninth centuries.
About 80,000 articles unearthed on the island have been designated as national treasures, including a gold ring made on the Korean Peninsula and a cut glass from Persia.
A local government official said Okinoshima is suitable for the UNESCO cultural heritage list as it represents a rare case where the island itself has traditionally been worshipped.
The group of monuments also includes the Munakata Taisha shrine pavilions and ancient tombs on the northern tip of Kyushu.
Japan already has 15 sites on the UNESCO list.