5. Shuri-jô site (Shurijo Castle Park)
Castle Which Symbolizes the Glory of the Ryukyu Kingdom
Shurijo Castle was the kings’ castle after the unification of the Ryukyu Kingdom. It became the center of politics, diplomacy, and culture during the Ryukyu Kingdom Era. Shurijo Castle is divided into 3 areas – the ritual area which is centered around “Kyo-no-uchi,” a private area for the royal family called “Ouchibara,” and the government area with tall buildings around “Una.” Both Japanese and Chinese construction techniques were applied to the deep red-colored Seiden (main hall) at Una, and this is the largest wooden building in Okinawa at this moment.
Shuri-jō site -Shurijo Castle Park-
Address: 1-2 Shurikinjocho, Naha City, Okinawa 903-0815
Shurijo Castle Park Tour
Time: 9:00, 10:30, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, 17:00 (6 Times Daily)
Meeting Place: South Palace Guard Station (Fee Payment Area)
*15 Participant Maximum Capacity.
*Please arrive at the Meeting Place prior to the start time.
*In order to reach the Fee Payment Area, you must purchase a ticket to enter Shuri Castle.
Car (Approximately 40 minutes)
Take Route 331 from Naha Airport and drive toward the center of Naha City. Next, take Route 58 and turn right on Tomari Crossing. Go straight on Route 29 and drive toward Shuri.
*If you take “Tomigusuku – Nakachi I.C.” on Okinawa Expressway, get off at “Haebaru Kita I.C.” and take Route 329.
Map Code for car navigation system: 33 161 526
* “マップコード” and “MAPCODE” are registered trademarks of DENSO.
Bus Route (Approximately 40 – 60 minutes)
(1) When riding the City Line (#1, 14, 17), or Outer-City Line (#46), exit the bus at the “Shurijō kōen iriguchi.” The Shureimon Gate is approximately a 5-minute walk.
(2) When riding the Shuri-jōkamachi Line (#7, 8), exit the bus at “Shurijō-mae.” The Shureimon Gate is approximately a 1-minute walk.
(3) When riding the City Line (#9, 13), or Outer-City Line (#25, 97), exit the bus at the “Yamagawa” bus stop. The Shureimon Gate is approximately a 15-minute walk.
Monorail (Approximately 50 minutes)
Take Yui Rail at Naha Airport and get off at “Shuri Station”. Walk approximately 15 minutes.
*Route bus (Shurijokamachi Line #8) operates from Shuri Station. (Get off at “Shurijo-mae” bus stop, walk approximately 3 minutes, and you will be at Shureimon Gate)
Shurijo Matsuri (Shurijo Castle Festival)
Around October – November
Traditional entertainment, parade, and ceremony take place at Shurijo Castle Park and Kokusai Street in Naha City.
Every day when open
Ukeejo-shiki is the ceremony to announce the opening of Shurijo Castle Park (paid admission zone) in the morning. It takes place at Houshinmon Gate 5 minutes before opening.
Succession Conflict That Burned Down Shurijo Castle
Shurijo Castle burned down for the first time only 24 years after the Ryukyu Kingdom was unified. After Sho Hashi, who accomplished the unification of kingdom died, a short‐term administration continued in his absence. To compete for the throne to be the 6th king of the kingdom, a nephew and an uncle fought against each other. This succession conflict is called “Shiro Furi no Ran.” Shurijo Castle was burned down during the conflict, and both Shiro and Furi died. As a result, Sho Taikyu, the 7th son of Sho Hashi, became the 6th king and started rebuilding Shurijo Castle.
Was the New Seiden Registered as a World Heritage Site?
Shurijo Castle was burned down 3 times during the Ryukyu Kingdom Era, and was heavily ruined after the Abolition of the Han System and Establishment of the Prefecture System. The castle was entirely burned down again during World War Ⅱ. The current castle was restored in 1992. You might be wondering why such a newly built castle could be registered as a World Heritage Site. In fact, what was actually registered was the remaining part, not the part which was restored.
Column｜Professionals Who Gathered to Restore Shurijo Castle
The problem faced when restoring Shurijo Castle was how to restore it authentically to how it existed during the Ryukyu Kingdom Era. Unfortunately, all resources including photos and drawings of the castle were burned during the war. The current castle was restored based on the drawings and photos of Seiden in 1768. A survey undertaken by locals familiar with the castle before the war was also referred to. The restoration work is still ongoing. A portion of “Ouchibara,” a private area for the royal families, has been open to the public as a relaxation space since January 24th, 2014.