Shikina-en: The only “Ryukyu garden” registered as a World Heritage Site
Shikina-en is a Ryukyu garden that was created more than 200 years ago.
In the middle of these vast grounds is pond shaped like the kanji character for ‘heart’ (心), which is surrounded by a lush green garden that visitors are able to stroll around.
In the Second World War, the garden suffered great damage but was carefully restored after 20 years, and in 2000 it was registered as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO as a part of the “Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu”.
In these gardens, visitors can take in the landscape gardening technique unique to Okinawa, which skillfully combines both a Chinese and Japanese essence.
Based on the type of landscape gardening that can be seen in Buddhist temples, the area surrounding the lake has a Chinese feel to it with stone bridges and a Rokkaku-do (a small Chinese-style pavilion), as well as pavements made from lime stone from the Ryukyu islands.
The Udun Palace building that was used as a guesthouse for foreign ambassadors also shows off traditional wooden Okinawan architecture.
Shikina-en garden is a 2km walk south of Shurin Castle, and so it was also known as the Southern Gardens during the Ryukyu Dynasty.
It also seems to have been used as both a health resort and villa for the royal family.
When walking through this quiet park, the hustle and bustle of Naha feels like a distant world.
Please come and enjoy this extravagant space that at one time was reserved only for the royal family and a small number of foreign officials.
Access to Shikina-en
30 minutes by car from Naha airport