The "Men only" Okinoshima island in Japan where women is banned has been declared a World Heritage site by the UN's cultural body Unesco.
The Okitsu shrine, nestled in Okinoshima island was built in the 17th century to pray for the safety of sailors.
Before setting foot on the island, men must bathe in the sea, naked. They are also not allowed to take away any souvenirs, or disclose details of their visit.
The ban on female visitors "has nothing to do with discrimination against women," the official told AFP.
It is considered dangerous for women to travel by sea to get to the island and the shrine will not change the centuries-old rule, he said.
"It is meant to protect women, the birth-giving gender," he added.
According to Japan Times, thousands of artefacts brought as gifts from overseas have been found on the island, including gold rings from the Korean Peninsula.
Annually on 27 May, the island opens its gate to a limited number of 200 male visitors with strict observation to the rules.