Local guides celebrate likely UNESCO designation

Volunteer tour guides held a celebration after UNESCO officially recommended adding a group of archaeological sites in northern Japan to its list of important cultural spots.

The Jomon Archaeological Sites in Hokkaido and the northern Tohoku region consist of 17 ancient ruins in Hokkaido, Aomori, Iwate and Akita prefectures. The World Heritage Committee is expected to include the sites on the list at a meeting in July.

Among them, the Sannai Maruyama Site in Aomori City is said to have particularly high academic value and features pit dwellings and pillar-supported buildings.

About 30 people, including volunteer tour guides, gathered at the site on Thursday.

They celebrated by raising a banner which said the site is to be added to the list of the World Heritage cultural site this summer.

A tour guide, who has worked at the site for 26 years, said she can't believe it but is very happy. She said she wants to explain the archaeological value of the site to visitors.

On Wednesday, a UNESCO advisory body, the International Council on Monuments and Sites, or ICOMOS, recommended that the group of the ruins be included in the list.