Shuri Castle: The symbol of Okinawa everyone should visit once!
Every year, 2 million tourists visit Shuri Castle, the most popular spot in the prefecture. Its history began at the end of the 14th century, and it became the pride and glory of the Ryukyu Kingdom for about 450 years.
Not only was the castle central to politics, diplomacy and culture, it was also built in a sacred location positioned higher than any of the other 300 plus castles in the area, and so it became the symbol of Okinawa both in the past and the present day.
Unfortunately, during the Second World War, it was completely destroyed and there was nothing left but the underground foundations and part of a stone wall. The current structure that can be visited is a restoration that has been built exactly how it once was, replicating the structures of that time period.
In 2000, it was registered by UNESCO as a part of the “Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu”.
Passing through the side entrance and climbing the stone pavement, the shrine ahead skillfully combines both Japanese and Chinese architecture to create a Ryukyu construction style that is unique to Okinawa.
The current building is a restoration that was completed in 1992, and is the largest wooden construction in Okinawa today.
The east side at the back of the main shrine is currently undergoing a research excavation and restoration work.
After visiting this piece of Okinawan history and the exhibition of precious artefacts, do not miss walking up to Irino-Azana viewpoint.
Not only can you see a panoramic view of Naha town from up on this small hill, but if it is a clear day then you might also see as far out as the Kerama Islands.
Access to Shuri Castle
30 minutes by car from Naha airport