An Important Cultural Property (重要文化財, jūyō bunkazai) is an item officially classified as Tangible Cultural Property by the Agency for Cultural Affairs and judged to be of particular importance to the Japanese people.
To protect Japan's cultural heritage the Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties was created as a "designation system" (指定制度) under which important items are appropriated as Cultural Properties, thus imposing restrictions to their alteration, repair and export. Besides the "designation system", there exists a "registration system" (登録制度), which guarantees a lower level of protection and support to Registered Cultural Properties.
Cultural Properties are classified according to their nature. Items designated as Tangible Cultural Properties (as opposed to Intangible Cultural Properties), cultural products of high historical or artistic value such as structures, paintings, sculptures, handicrafts, calligraphic works, ancient books, historic documents, archeological artifacts and other such items, can later, if they satisfy certain criteria, be designated either Important Cultural Properties or National Treasures (国宝), for especially valuable items. The designation can take place at the city (市定重要文化財, city designated Important Cultural Property), prefectural (県定重要文化財, prefecturally designated Important Cultural Property) or national (国定重要文化財, nationally designated Important Cultural Property) level. In this last case the designating agency is often not specified. Varying levels of designation can coexist. For example, Sankei-en, a traditional Japanese-style garden in Naka Ward, Yokohama, is both city and nationally designated as an Important Cultural Properties.
A National Treasure is the most precious of Japan's Tangible Cultural Properties, as determined and designated by the Agency for Cultural Affairs. A Tangible Cultural Property is considered to be of historic or artistic value, classified either as "buildings and structures" or as "fine arts and crafts." Each National Treasure must show outstanding workmanship, a high value for world cultural history, or exceptional value for scholarship.
A Cultural Property is administered by the Japanese government's Agency for Cultural Affairs, and includes tangible properties ; intangible properties ; folk properties both tangible and intangible; monuments historic, scenic and natural; cultural landscapes; and groups of traditional buildings. Buried properties and conservation techniques are also protected. Together these cultural properties are to be preserved and utilized as the heritage of the Japanese people.
A Tangible Cultural Property as defined by the Japanese government's Law for the Protection of Cultural Properties is a part of the Cultural Properties of high historical or artistic value such as structures, paintings, sculptures, handicrafts, calligraphic works, ancient books, historic documents, archeological artifacts and other such items created in Japan. All objects which are not structures are called "works of fine arts and crafts.
Akishino-dera (秋篠寺) is a Buddhist temple in Nara, Japan. Founded in the eighth century, its Kamakura-period Hondō is a National Treasure.
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