Pine tree in Gifu Prefecture to be UNESCO World Heritage site

[Gifu] – Following last week’s recommendation of Japan’s iconic Mount Fuji for World Heritage status by the International Council of Monuments and Sites, the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs (JACA) has made public its plans for a new application to UNESCO for a pine tree in the Gifu Prefecture.

This new candidate World Heritage site is situated in Kashiwabara, a small village located about 4 km from Sekigahara. It was in Sekigahara that in 1600 AD a decisive battle was fought between the forces of Toyotome Hideyori and those of Tokugawa Ieyasu, who won the battle.

“But, it was in Kashiwabara, on the eve of the battle, that Tokugawa Ieyasu fastened his horse to a pine tree.”, explains a local member of the JACA committee the importance of the site for world history. “If this tree had not been here at that time, Tokugawa’s horse might have run off, and the future Shogun of Japan might have shown up late at the battlefield the next day.” The actual pine tree is naturally no longer there, but a plastic replica is being prepared.

Government officials are planning to support the application and are considering the construction of a large-scale red light district near the site in order to convince the UNESCO officials. The district will be referred to as “Nadeshiko Sekigahara”. The Japanese government has set aside a 4 billion yen budget for the 3 year project.

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