Okinawa, once known as the Ryukyu Islands, has had a long and fascinating history. From the 15th to 19th centuries, it was an independent kingdom with tributary relations with the Ming/Qing Empires (China) and the Tokugawa Shogunate (Japan). During this period, the kings ruled the land from their seat of power in Shuri Castle.
The castle served as royal residence and administrative centre of the Kings of Ryukyu. It was the political, economic, and cultural heart of the Ryūkyūs. It was also the location where foreign traders came to make deals. Originally built during the 1300's it was destroyed and rebuilt several times over the past 700 years.
The current site was restored in 1992 but is reportedly as close as possible to the original. Divided into a free area and a paid area, the castle buildings can be explored in a circular route. You will see many historical items on display, the outline of the history of the Ryukyus, a replica of the throne, a beautiful stone gate, a classical garden, a replica of the "Bridge of Nations" Bell and more.
If you choose to visit only a single historic site in Okinawa, this is the one you should choose.
- 8.00am –7.00pm, daily; Closed on first Wednesday and Thursday of July
- +81 98-886-2020
- 1 Chome-2 Shurikinjocho, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture 903-0815, Japan
- 15-20 min walk or 5 min bus ride from Shuri Station on the Okinawa Monorail