6. Tamaudun (Tamaudun Royal Mausoleum)
Mausoleum of the Kings of the Ryukyu Kingdom
The Tamaudun Royal Mausoleum is the mausoleum where the 2nd Sho dynasty is entombed. It was built in 1501 during the period of King Sho Shin, the golden age of the Ryukyu Kingdom. It is a huge, stone-built mausoleum which was modelled on Shurijo Castle, and consists of 3 chambers from East to West. These chambers house the bones of former kings and are surrounded by high stone walls. Since the mausoleum is an important example of a unique stone-built memorial monument, it has been designated a National Important Cultural Property and National Historical Site.
Tamaudun -Tamaudun Royal Mausoleum-
Address: 1-3 Shurikinjocho, Naha City, Okinawa 903-0815
Car (Approximately 40 minutes – 1 hour)
Take Route 331 from Naha Airport, drive toward the center of Naha City, then turn right on Tomari Crossing. Next, take Route 29, turn right on Ikehata Crossing, and turn right in front of Shurijo Castle.
Map Code for car navigation system: 33 160 659
* “マップコード” and “MAPCODE” are registered trademarks of DENSO.
Bus Route (Approximately 45 minutes)
(1) When riding the City Line (#1, 14, 17), or Outer-City Line (#46), exit the bus at the “Shurijō kōen iriguchi.” Approximately a 5-minute walk.
(2) When riding the Shuri-jōkamachi Line (#8), exit the bus at “Shurijō-mae.” Approximately a 1-minute walk.
Monorail (Approximately 40 minutes)
Take Yui Rail at Naha Airport, and get off at “Gibo Station”. Walk approximately 15 minutes.
A session about Tamaudun Royal Mausoleum and world heritage
Date: the 3rd Sunday of odd-numbered month 11:00 – 12:00 (1 hour)
Details: Listen to the explanation by a manager and learn about the Tamaudun Royal Mausoleum, the world heritage. Free admission for all participants. All participants are required to meet at the ticket office before the session starts
*Tour guide will be conducted exclusively in Japanese.
Stone Figures Which Represent the Authority of the Kings
Fictional Chinese animals such as dragons and phoenixes are inscribed on the balustrade in front of the mausoleum. These animals were also used as decoration on Shurijo Castle. 2 stone figures of lions are decorated on top of towers which stand between the kings’ and queens’ chambers as though they were watching over the mausoleum. These statues were made by carving a hard Chinese rock called diabase and were placed here when the mausoleum was built. The statue of “Tamaudun Royal Mausoleum” in the garden was also made from diabase and is the oldest “Kana (Japanese characters) inscription” which exists in Okinawa. These original patterns of Ryukyu and the characters on the surface of the inscription are highly valued as historical treasures.
Column｜What is the 2nd Sho Dynasty?
The royal dynasties of the Ryukyu Kingdom are divided into the 1st Sho Dynasty and the 2nd Sho Dynasty. The 1st Sho Dynasty established the Ryukyu Kingdom and ruled for 7 generations from 1406 – 1469. The person who took over royal power from the 1st Sho Dynasty was Sho En, the father of King Sho Shin who built the mausoleum. Sho En adopted the name “Sho” and started a new dynasty. This dynasty continued for 410 years until the Abolition of the Domain System and Establishment of the Prefecture System was enacted in 1879. Not all family members, only the Kings of the 2nd Sho Dynasty and their families are entombed at the mausoleum.