Shuri Castle

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Shuri-jo Castle (首里城) was built in the 14th century and was the palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom. For nearly 400 years, it went neglected and suffered great destruction during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. The castle was used as a university campus after the war but beginning from 1992, extensive reconstruction based on historical records, photographs, and memory were used to rebuild the castle to its former glory. Unfortunately, the castle was largely destroyed by a fire on October 31, 2019.

Notice

A significant number of the castle's main buildings were burnt down in the early hours of October 31st, 2019. The site is closed to the public for the time being, but Shurijo Castle Park has been partially reopened since. Authorities aim to have a reconstruction plan ready by 2022.

Overview

Address

1 Chome-2 Shurikinjocho, Naha, Okinawa 903-0815 (Map) (Directions)

Price

¥820

Phone Number

098-886-2020

Website

oki-park.jp

Highlights

Seiden

The Seiden, or “West Hall,” is also called the State Palace. It was located east of the Una and faced west toward China. The Great Dragon pillars were crafted from sandstone and were symbolic of the king. These dragon motifs are replicated throughout the castle.

Una Plaza

The Una was the central and primary reception area of the castle. It was located in front of the Seiden and included a ceremonial area. The Kushino-una was a living area located immediately behind the Seiden.

Shureimon Gate

Together with 13 other gates, Shureimon Gate was the second ceremonial gate to the Shuri-jo Castle complex. Following the design concepts of the rest of the majority of the castle complexes, the gate also has a distinct Chinese feel to its structure.

Shrines and Temples

Shuri-jo Castle was also home to several shrines (~utaki) and temples (~ji). Three of which played a role of significant importance to the functions of the castle. Kyo-no-uchi, where prayers by high priestesses were made; Sonohyan-utaki where the king prayed for order and safety; and the Suimi-utaki, which was supposedly created by the gods and is the theme of many songs and prayers in Ryukyu’s oldest music collection.

Sonohyan-Utaki Ishimon

Royal stone gate used by the former King as a placer of prayer and exit of the castle grounds – a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Discover more

Access

Shuri-jo Castle is a 5-minute walk from Shuri Station.

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