Amami Oshima Recommended for World Natural Heritage Designation


Amami Oshima in Kagoshima Prefecture, the main island in the Amami group of islands, is located almost midway between the city of Kagoshima and Okinawa and is blessed by a beautiful ocean and magnificent nature, including its mangrove forests. It has a population of just over 42,000, covers an area larger than the 23 special wards of Tokyo, and boasts a rugged coastline and mountains surrounded by deep forests. Recognized for its rich biodiversity in flora and fauna, which includes the Amami rabbit, Amami Oshima, together with Iriomote in Okinawa Prefecture and other southwestern islands, looks set to be officially designated as a natural asset on the UNESCO World Heritage list in July 2021. It would be the fifth natural heritage site in Japan. This time I began my photography by traveling south from the city of Amami, which is the largest urban area on Amami Oshima.

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