You should go at least once! Okinawa's World Heritage has a superb view

You should go at least once! Okinawa's World Heritage has a superb view
05. (Last update date: )
OkinawaTraveler Editor

Just entering the place, World Heritage, where you can get mysterious power. There are several World Heritage registered spots in Okinawa. Okinawa's World Heritage consists of five Okinawan Castles and four relics of its related heritage. The official name is "Gusuku and Related Heritage Groups in the Kingdom of Ryukyu". It was registered as the 11th World Heritage in Japan at the 24th World Heritage Committee meeting in 2000.
The World Heritage of Okinawa has a unique atmosphere that is different from the castle ruins and buildings on the mainland, and the five Okinawan Castles are all on a hill, so you can see a superb view from there! Here we introduce these five Okinawan Castles and four related heritage sites.

Gorgeously! Shuri Castle, the largest castle in the prefecture

Photos provided: Kokuei Okinawa Memorial Park Shuri Castle Park

Shuri Castle is characterized by vivid vermilion and original architectural style, towering over the city of Shuri in Okinawa. Know, it is one of the most popular tourist spots in Okinawa! Shuri Castle is the place where the king lived for about 450 years from 1429 to 1879, when Okinawa was still Kingdom of ryukyu. Which was the center of politics, diplomacy and culture, was an indispensable part of the kingdom to prosper.
After Kingdom of ryukyu became Okinawa Prefecture, Shuri Castle began to be used as a Japanese camp and school in the spring of 1879, and in 1945 it was completely destroyed by the US military attack. After that, it was restored as a national park in 1992.
What many people imagine when you hear Shuri Castle is a building characterized by a solid vermilion and decorations applied in some places? This is called "Shuri Castle Main Shrine", and in front of the main hall, "Una", which is the center of Shuri Castle, spreads in front of the main hall. Then, there is "South Hall" on the south side and the "North Hall" on the left side from the main hall.

※In October 2019, Shuri Castle Main Shrine was burned down by fire. At present, the restoration site and process of the main hall, which is scheduled to be completed in 2026, are open to the public.

Photos provided: Kokuei Okinawa Memorial Park Shuri Castle Park

If you visit Shuri Castle on a trip to Okinawa, be sure to follow the journey from Shurijo Park Rest Center "Shuri Morikan" to Shuri Castle Main Shrine! On the way to the main shrine, Moriremon, one of the most famous castle gates at Shuri Castle, the first main gate to enter castle, the Jokaimon Gate, which has been used as a drinking spring for drinking since ancient times. There are many spots, such as "Ryuhi" and the seven stone monuments "Sappoushichihi" installed around the dragon gutter. Going forward while looking closely at the masonry, decorations, sculptures, etc. can be a new discovery. By the way, there is a restaurant where you can eat Ryukyu cuisine in Shurijo Park, so it is recommended that you finish your meal while sightseeing.

There's nothing to block. Panorama Katsuren Castle Ruins, which extends to 360 °

Katsuren Castle is a place that was used as the residence of the influential Anji, Kazutoshi Ama around the 15th century. It is the oldest Okinawan Castle in Okinawa and is said to have been built around the 12th century. It has a shape that makes good use of natural cliffs, and is also said to be an "incapable castle".
The features of the Katsuren Castle ruins are curving walls that make you feel supple like a woman, even though it is a stone building, and the stairs that make a large turn around the castle. The site of Katsuren Castle is made up of a section called "Kuruwa" and connects between the curved rings with long stairs. The curved ring is an area where defense bases and buildings were built separately from the Honmaru, the center of the castle. Depending on the castle, it was used as a place for wives and children to live, or as a storage for supplies.
The elevation difference between the stairs to go up to the "Sannokuwa" at the Katsuren Castle ruins is 20 meters! This was made with the intention of being able to compete when the enemy comes, so let's move forward with enthusiasm. If you reach the highest point, "Ichi no Kawa", you can overlook the cityscape of Okinawa, the Sky Blue Sea, Chinen Peninsula and Kudaka Island beyond the wall. Katsuren Castle Ruins is one of the most popular in World Heritage because of its breathtaking scenery. Please check it out with your eyes!
About 10 minutes by car, there is a popular superb view spot "Underwater Road". This area is characterized by a low road. Because it is surrounded by the sea on the left and right, you can feel as if you were running in the sea. In addition, there is roadside rest area (Sea Station Ayahashikan), where you can eat and buy local specialty products.

A castle wall reminiscent of the Great Wall. One of the most famous castles in Okinawa, Kijinjin Castle Ruins

Photos provided: OCVB

The history of Kijinjin Castle is very old and dates back to the 13th century. Located at an altitude of about 100 meters and surrounded by sturdy walls, Jijin Castle was used as a key castle to protecting the land of Yanbaru (Northern Okinawa Island). In the 14th century, it was considered to be the residence of the king of the Kitayama Kingdom, but after the destruction of the Kitayama Kingdom in 1416, a guard will be set up to manage the northern region. However, he was attacked by Satsuma-gun in 1609 and burned. Since then, it changed to Mitake, which is visited by many worshipers, and was later registered with World Heritage.
The highlight of the ruins of Kijin Castle are the 1.5 km long castle wall. It seems that the winding wall like a long snake was designed to compete against enemy attacks. It is said to be a key castle that protects the land of Yanbaru, and the high-loaded walls are masterpieces, and you can proceed while enjoying various historical mysterys such as "How did you pile up together?" In addition, the superb view from the castle ruins on a small hill is one of the highlights! Please enjoy the lush green scenery of Yanbaru to your heart's content.

In addition, many other events are held at the site of Nakijin Castle, such as the Sakura Festival and the Sanshin Day Event. At the northernmost tip of the World Heritage in Okinawa Prefecture. At the Nakijin Okinawan Castle Cherry Blossom Festival, you can enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms unique to the northern part, known as a famous spot for the cold scarlet cherry blossoms. The only place where you can enjoy the collaboration of the walls illuminated colorfully by lighting up and the cherry blossoms that emerge dimly is the only site of Kijinjin Castle! It's a very popular event every year, "I've never seen such romantic World Heritage!"

The beautiful structure is a capable architect of Waza Kiji Castle

Zakimi Castle is a castle built around 1420 by Yomitanzan Aji and Gosamaru. Gosamaru, who was recognized for his achievements, will do his utmost to support the king's unification of Ryukyu as an Anji of Mt. Yomitan. And Zakimi Castle will be used as the residence of Gosamaru.
However, in 1945, Zakimi Okinawan Castle was used as a Japanese military gun position in the Battle of Okinawa, and then the U.S. military radar base was set up. Zakimi Okinawan Castle returned to Okinawa again in 1972, designated as a historic site.
Zakimi Castle is characterized by its advanced and beautiful curves. The arch gate, which is the castle gate, is the oldest form among those that exist in Okinawa. As you pass through the gate, you can enjoy a mysterious feeling as if you have slipped back to a place you don't know somewhere.

Looking at the ruins of Zakimi Castle from the top of the castle wall, its shape is like a modern dam! It seems that this unique structure was intended to monitor enemies coming from outside. When sightseeing, why don't you walk while imagining the ancestors, such as "Is you watching the enemy from here?"
By the way, there is Hayachimmun no Sato about 10 minutes by car from the site of Zakimi Castle. Yachimmun no Sato is a secret spot in Okinawa where you can get a proud work made by popular Yachimun writer! Not only check your work at the studio or stand, but there are also galleries and cafes, so you can enjoy it without getting bored. It is perfect for souvenirs for traveling to Okinawa, so please feel free to drop in.

Try touching historical romance! If you go through the arch, you will feel like Kingdom of ryukyu's Nakagusuku Castle Ruins

Photos provided: OCVB

Nakagusuku Castle was built in the middle of the 14th century by Anji Nakagusuku for several years, and in 1440 by Anji and Gosamaru of Yomitan Village in 1440 by Anji Gosamaru. The details are not yet known, and it is reported that it was the residence of Anji Nakajo, but the theory that castle owner is Gosamaru is Gosamaru.
Gosamaru was changed from Anji Yomitan-mura to Anji Nakagusuku due to his royal life, but in 1458, both his wife and children were committed to self-harm by the plan of Amari, who aims to the world. After the death of Gosamaru, Nakagusuku Castle was ruled by the royal government, and in 1470 it became the residence of Oji Nakagusuku. After that, elementary schools were opened and used as a government office, but they were destroyed in the 1945 Battle of Okinawa. However, the damage caused by the war was less than the other Okinawan Castle, and the original form was not greatly impaired. After the war, it will be Okinawa's first park, and will be used as a place for citizens to relax.
One of the features of Nakagusuku Castle Ruins is a stone building boasting overwhelming beauty using Ryukyu limestone (made of coral reefs), a stone familiar in Okinawa. It is a satisfactory stone building that is registered in World Heritage, such as arches drawn with masonry, and its splendor has been praised by the famous American Admiral Perry! Of course, the view from the castle is also the best, and you can take a commemorative photo with the Pacific Ocean, East China Sea, Katsuren Peninsula and Chinen Peninsula.

Power that is transmitted from megaliths. Ryukyu's best sacred place, Seiba Mitake

Sefu Utaki, a venerable sacred place in Nanjo City, is the highest sacred place in Kingdom of ryukyu, built by Ama Mikiyo, the founder of Kingdom of ryukyu. From here, Kudaka Island, known as God's island. During the Kingdom of ryukyu era, during the national ritual, white sand from Kudaka Island was spread over this Mitake. The story that Seiba Mitake was a ban on men in the past is a rather famous story.
Seiba Utaki has a total of six ibis (shrine area), including "Sangui", which features a triangular space made of multiple megaliths. Each ibis has a unique atmosphere, and if you actually visit it, you will be able to realize that Seiba Utaki is not an artificially built place. Some of the visitors have had wonderful love, have found their ideal marriage partner, and have been blessed with child treasures! Let's take a leisurely walk along the World Heritage in the light of the trees.

Mitake worship hall Hiyatake Mitakeishimon, standing quietly in one corner of Shuri Castle Castle.

Photos provided: Shurijo Castle Park

The site of Shuri Castle, World Heritage. Sonhiya Taketake Mitake Ishimon, located on the way to the main building of Shuri Castle, the main building of Shuri Castle, is a place of worship where the King prayed for safety before going out. It is said that the first place to visit when the Kingdom of ryukyu, the highest goddess of the throne ceremony at Seiba Mitake. It was founded in 1519 by the hands of Nishitang, an official from Taketomijima.
Such Sonnohiya Taketake Ishimon is currently known as a power spot with great effect of praying for safety. You can enter freely, so please gently join hands when you want to get energy, sink your feelings, or when you want to be safe of your trip! I'm sure you'll get the power.
By the way, there are various power spots in Shuri Castle besides Sonobiya Taketake Stone Gate. For example, Ryuhi next to "Zuisenmon" is one of them. Ryuhi is said to be the only power spot in Shuri Castle in the Battle of Okinawa, so it is said to be a recommended power spot when you want to draw good luck. In addition, "Shuri Mori Mitake" and "Hoshinmon" are power spots for prayer for safety and prosperity.

Shisa will meet you! The grave of the kings of the royal family

Photos provided: Shurijo Castle Park

Tamado Pon is a tomb built by King Shoshinou, who has been the king of Kingdom of ryukyu for 50 years, to reinterment the remains of his father, King Shoen. The grave room is divided into three, and at the beginning, it seems that the king and queen after bone washing were buried in the east room, and others were buried in the west room.
The middle room was said to be a place to lay the body before bone washing, but it is actually said that there is a mysterious kitchen jar in this chamber. The kitchen jar is a pot that contains the bones of the deceased. It is said that the kitchen jar in the middle room of Gyoryo was from Mukuta Futochi, a loyal lord who served the Sho family, and was specially put in by the king of the time.
Three amulet Shisa are placed on the roof of the ballroom. Shisa glaring with sharp eyes to protect those sleeping in the grave is quite powerful! When you visit Yuling, we recommend that you pay attention to the expression of Shisa.
About 10 minutes from Gyoryo, there are sightseeing spots such as the `` Kanagicho Cobblestone Road '', which has been selected as one of Japan's Top 100 Roads, and `` Kanagicho's Dai Akagi Group '' where you can feel the power of 200 to 300 years old There are also sightseeing spots, so please try to extend your legs.

A garden that looks like a cut-out of Okinawa, which is rich in nature.

Photos provided: OCVB

Shikinaen was founded in 1799 as the largest separate residence of the Ryukyu royal family. It was used for recreation of the King's family and entertainment for foreign ministers. Because it is located on the south side of Shuri Castle, it is sometimes called Nanen.

Photos provided: OCVB

The characteristics of Shiinaen are that various styles are mixed everywhere, such as Japan's unique modeling "Kaiyu-style garden" and Ishibashi and Rokkakudo incorporating Chinese-style designs. . This is a space unique to Kingdom of ryukyu, which has long been interacting with many booklet envoys to build good relations with China since long ago.

This shows that the Okinawan Castle in Okinawa is often surrounded by masonry walls. When you go around the World Heritage, it may be fun to find different points between the ruins and buildings of Okinawa and the mainland.
As one point advice, we recommend that you choose shoes that are easy to walk when you visit World Heritage.
Please feel the mysterious atmosphere of World Heritage, which is a bit different from famous spots such as Kokusai Dori and Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.

Post: January 2017 (updatedated July 2023)

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