The Katsuren Castle Ruins are a “Teikaku-shiki” style castle that places four flat terrains in a staircase pattern. The castle wall was built utilizing a natural landscape and heaped-stone wall at the edge of a steep cliff. Plenty of Japanese old-style tiles have been unearthed, and also carved rocks and pillar holes have been found.
The fact that tile-roofed buildings which were uncommon at that time were built corroborates the prosperity of the castle.
You can capture a full view of the Katsuren Castle Ruins at the open space in front of the castle. One of the features of the castle is smooth curved and heaped stone walls. Its outline standing on a hill highlighted against the blue sky can be likened to a huge sailing vessel. This is a scenic site with a 360-degree view from the top at 98 meters high. There are steep paths along the castle since it was built on a mountain. Please be extra careful when you climb the stone steps since they are slippery.
This castle was the residency of Amawari, who eased the load of those who were suffering from maladministration and who brought prosperity through overseas trade. He raised a rebellion after the death of Sho Hashi, who had accomplished the unification of Ryukyu, however, he was destroyed along with Katsuren Castle by the Ryukyu Kingdom’s military in 1458. Amawari is portrayed as a traitor in Ryukyu’s history book “Rebellion of Gosamaru and Amawari”, yet he is described as praiseworthy and a well-liked king in the poetry anthology “Omorososhi” which is known as Okinawa’s Manyoshu. A movement to reexamine his achievements spread amongst the locals and a modern version of “Kumiodori” (a theatrical performance) featuring the subject of Amawari is now shown.
Amawari’s wife Momoto Fumiagari was a beautiful woman. She was born the daughter of the king of Ryukyu Kingdom and forced to marry Amawari for political reasons, yet she returned to Shurijo Castle due to the battle between her father Sho Taikyu and her husband Amawari. Her second husband, Uniufugushiku was also defeated in power struggles. Her entire life she lived gracefully, though heavily influenced by politics, and she has been written about in many novels and dramas.
Katsuren Castle Ruins (Katsuren-jō site)
Address: 3908 Katsurenhaebaru, Uruma City, Okinawa 904-2311
Katsuren-jō site official website
Car (About 1 hr)
Take Route 332, 331, 329 and 82 from Naha Airport, and take Okinawa Expressway from Naha I.C.. Get off at Okinawa Kita I.C. and take Route 36, 33 and 16. You will find a rest stop at Katsuren Castle Ruins on the left.
Map Code for car navigation system: 499 570 140
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Monorail / Bus (About 2 hrs)
Take “Yui Rail” and get off at “Asahibashi Station.” Walk toward Naha Bus Terminal (5 minutes). Take Yokatsu Line (#52) at Naha Bus Terminal and get off at “Katsuren Danchimae” bus stop. Walk approximately 5 mins.