Kingdom of Ryukyu
Zakimi Castle Kingdoom Of Ryukyu, Okinawa
Shuri Castle In Shuri, Okinawa
Katsuren Castle, Okinawa
Ruin Of Nakagusuku Castle, Okinawa
Tiamaudun Mausoleum, Okinawa
Facts & Figures
The Gusuku sites and related properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu are a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the Okinawa Island. In total 9 places are part of the heritage site. It includes 5 castles (Katsuren Castle, Zakimi Castle, Nakijin Castle, Shuri Castle, Nakagusuku Castle), ruins of 2 stone monuments (Tamaudun mausoleum, Sonohyan-utaki Stone Gate) and 2 cultural landscapes (Shikinaen garden, Sefa-utaki). These places are scattered all over the island and capture a moment in time when the unique culture of the Ryukyu Kingdom flourished. The intense trade of the Ryukyu Kingdom and Asian countries like China, Japan, Korea had a strong influence on its architecture, culture, art and politics.
In the year 2000 Gusuku sites and related properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu became part of the UNESCO World Heritage list. These properties symbolize 500 years of ethnic and cultural history from the 12th till the 17th century.
The 9 sites of Kingdom of Ryukyu are located on the Okinawa Island.
How to get to Okinawa?
- 2hrs 30min from Tokyo Haneda Airport to Naha Okinawa
Katsuren Castle - is one of the oldest castles in Okinawa located 98m above sea level on the Katsuren Peninsula, one of its most famous owners was Ryukyuan Aji (lord) Amawari in the middle of the 15th century, enjoy the beautiful Pacific Ocean view from the top of the castle ruins Read more
Zakimi Castle (Zakimi-jo Gusuku) - the construction of the gusuku fortress under the guidance of Gosamaru took from 1416 till 1422, this tourist attraction is located in the Yomitan Village
Nakijin Castle - located on the Motobu Peninsula, it was built during the 14th century, the castle ruins are an impressive site especially the amazing view over the East China Sea from the top
Shuri Castle - one of the most important buildings to visit in Okinawa, it was for many centuries the Ryukyu kings residence and its a must-see during your Okinawa trip Read more
Tamaudun Mausoleum - located near the Shuri Castle, was built in 1501 and is the Royal Mausoleum of the Second Sho Dynasty of the Ryukyu Kingdom
Sonohyan-utaki Stone Gate - the gate was built in 1519 on the grounds of Shuri Castle and stands at the entrance of Sunuhyan-utaki (sacred forest)
Shikinaen Garden - the beautiful garden was established in the year 1799 on the Shuri Castle grounds and served as one of the residences of the Sho family (royal family of the Ryukyu Kingdom)
Sefa-utaki - is located on the Chinen Peninsula, it was the most sacred place in Ryukyu Kingdom, several rock formations were worshiped as objects representing god
Festival & Events (dates can change without notice)
Shurijo Castle Park New Year's Celebration (1st - 3rd)
It is an reenactment of the traditional ceremony. Court dances and other Ryukyuan dances are performed. Visitors are offered free amazakei (made from fermented rice, a traditional sweet, low- or non-alcohol drink) and tea to celebrate the New Year.
Shurijo Castle Festival (25th till Nov. 3rd)
The festival celebrates the traditional culture of the ancient capital Shuri. It is one of the biggest annual events on Okinawa. A grand procession with over 1000 participants is a must-see on your trip to Naha. Traditional dances are performed on a huge stage in the castle park.
Where to stay in Okinawa?
My 100 Best Moments in Japan
I am visiting Japan nearly every year since 2004. This is my collection of the 100 best moments in my favourite country. Enjoy the pictures and I hope you will start your own journey soon.