Nakagusuku Castle was built to defend against attacks from the east by Lord Amawari of Katsuren Castle, and was lived in by the great commander Gosamaru. The castle is on a hill 167 meters above sea level, and you can see the ocean from the castle walls. Some parts of the castle were renovated by Gosamaru, who was also known as a great castle designer. You can see the differences in masonry used to build the castle at some points.
Nakagusuku Castle consists of 6 enclosures in the so called Renkaku style. Major parts were built by previous lords, and The North Enclosure and the Third Enclosure were added by Gosamaru in order to prepare for war. These were built with advanced masonry techniques including the Aikata-zumi technique to interlock and pile up rocks, and there is also an arch-shaped main gate. The expedition deployed by Commodore Perry, which came to Japan at the end of Edo period, declared the masonry to be of admirable construction.
Nakagusuku Castle suffered relatively little damage during WWII and still retains its original features, making it easy to see the transition of masonry stone laying. The South Enclosure was built with “Nozurazumi” masonry, and the Main Enclosure and the Second Enclosure were built with “Nunozumi” masonry. For the Third Enclosure Gosamaru introduced the most advanced stone laying technology of the time known as “Aikatazumi”. The normal route starts from the Rear Gate, however, if you want to see the transition of masonry in chronological order, start from the Main Enclosure to get a natural progression.
Gosamaru was ordered to move to Nakagusuku Castle from Zakimi Castle in order to control lord Amawari of Katsuren Castle, who was gaining power. However, Gosamaru was suspected of rebellion by the king after discovering a conspiracy, leading to an attack that was met with little resistance. Gususku then killed his children, his wife, and finally himself at this castle. The history books say that Gosamaru was loyal to the king until the very end of his life.
Nakagusuku-jō site -Nakagusuku Castle Remains-
Address: 503 Oogusuku, Kitanakagusuku Village, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa 901-2314
Nakagusuku-jō site official website
Tsuwabuki Matsuri (Leopard Plant Festival)
Around December – January
The Nakagusuku Castle Ruins are known as a famous place for the leopard plant. Everyone can enjoy watching Ryukyuan traditional dance, sanshin, and taiko performance while viewing leopard plants in full-bloom during this season.
Seeing the First Sunrise (entry fee applies)
New Year’s Day (6:00 – )
An event to see the first sunrise of the year and celebrate the new year.
Volunteer Guide “Gusuku no Kai”
Tel: 098-935-5719 (Reservation is required * At least 1 week in advance)
*The reception and tour guide will be conducted exclusively in Japanese.
Take Route 329 from Naha Airport and drive toward the north. After passing both Yonabaru and Nishihara Towns, turn left on Nakagusuku Kouen Iriguchi Crossing. Take Route 146 (approximately 50 minutes).
By Okinawa Expressway, take Naha I.C. and get off at Kitanakagusuku I.C. (approximately 30 minutes).
- Map Code for car navigation system: 33 411 581
- “マップコード” and “MAPCODE” are registered trademarks of DENSO.
Monorail / Bus
Take “Yui Rail” at Naha Airport and get off at “Asahibashi Station.” Walk toward Naha Bus Terminal (5 minutes on foot). Take Toyo Bus (#30) bus and get off at “Nakagusuku Shogakko” bus stop. Approximately 2 kilometers one-way (more than 30 minutes on foot to climb up a slope / 5 minutes by taxi)
Yui Rail Official Website
Bus-navi Okinawa *General Information System for Fixed-route Buses on the Main Island
ON THE TRIP A Traveler’s Guide ( App Store )