03/29/2011 05:07 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Japan's Cultural Landmarks Damaged After Earthquake And Tsunami

The physical destruction left behind by the earthquake that struck Japan on March 11th goes beyond infrastructural damage. The epicenter of the 9.0 earthquake was located right off the coast of Matsushima, an area that boasts 260 pine-clad islands and is one of the most recognized natural landmarks of Japan. The region, with its beauty and splendor, has been inspiring poets and painters for centuries, but the aftermath has left the area, along with other monuments and cultural landmarks, severely damaged. The Agency for Cultural Affairs is reporting a total of 353 damaged cultural properties, all of which are government protected sites significant to Japan's cultural heritage. Reports range from cracks in the walls at the Zuigan Temple, a national treasure to more extensive damage at Rinnō Temple and Futarasan Shrine, where a few stone monuments where knocked to the ground. For a complete and comprehensive list of the cultural properties affected click here.