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Shuri Castle was built in the 14th century and is a royal castle that prospered as the center of politics and culture of the Ryukyu Kingdom for about 500 years since 1879. It has repeatedly been burned down and repaired four times and was registered as a World Heritage site in 2000. It was modeled after the Forbidden City in China, incorporating a Japanese construction style and has become a tourist spot that represents Okinawa as a historical building where different cultures intertwine. Its appearance, vividly painted in red, is a famous symbol of Okinawa.
- 1-2 Shurikinjocho, Naha-shi, Okinawa
- Contact No.
- From Shuri Station on Yui Rail (Okinawa Monorail), take public bus no.7 or 8 for 10 minutes and get off at Shurijo-mae. 1-min walk from here.
- Opening Hours / Holidays
- 8:30-19:00 (July-Sep: until 20:00, Dec-Mar: until 18:00)
Closed: first Wednesday of July and following day.
- Official Website
- Time Required
- 90 minutes
- Admission fee
- Free, paid area entrance fee is 820 yen
- Other Information
- *Wifi available *Brochures available in English, simplified Chinese, Korean
※ Some information is displayed in Japanese and machine-translated English, which may not be accurate.
For the latest information, please check the official website for each spot.
Different Cultures Come Together in Shuri Castle
Shuri Castle used to be the residence of the king of Ryukyu Kingdom and was the center of politics, culture, diplomacy, and festivities. The castle overlooks the city of Naha. Its beautiful appearance with influences from various Asian cultures is a must see.
Seiden (Main Building)
The main building was the biggest wooden construct in the Ryukyu Kingdom and was a highly important building also called kokuden (national hall) or Momorasoeudun, literally translated as an existence that rules the hundred people of the whole country. The way it is built in three floors and two layers as well as the decorative dragon pillars are said to be a unique style of Ryukyu that is found neither in Japan nor China.
Shuri Castle's Interior
Inside the main hall, there is the throne where the king sat and a space which was used by the queen and other ladies of high status, adorned with luxurious decorations. There are also seeing-worthy exhibits of art pieces such as gifts from the Chinese emperor and the king's crown.
Shoin, Sasunoma and the Garden
This building was the office and waiting room for the king and prince. It is a beautiful building connected to an authentic garden. Delegates from the Chinese dynasty chant poems about the beauty of this garden made from rocks, pine trees and sago palms.
View Point "Azana"
Azana means observation point and there is one each on the east and west. "West Azana" is an observatory located on the fort with 130 meters elevation, from which Naha city can be seen. The fences are very low so you can enjoy the panorama view sitting down on a bench.
Shuri Castle Gourmet
There are restaurants and cafés inside the premises. There is an extensive offer ranging from Okinawa soba, goya champuru and deserts made from Okinawa specialties purple yam and brown sugar. They are great places to take a good rest from exploring the spacious Shuri Castle.
Cultural Heritages Inside Shuri Castle Park
Inside Shuri Castle Park, there are many historical buildings and landmarks that originate in the old kingdom days. There is "Bezaitendo", which worships the goddess that rules safety at sea and the beautiful artificial ponds "Ryutan" and "Enkanchi". On Ryutan, boat feasts used to be held to welcome delegates from China.
Various Events Corresponding to Each Season
Various events are held throughout the whole year in Shuri Castle Park. The Ryukyu culture is projected in each of the events like the ceremony from 8:25 to 8:45 every day, in which the opening of the gates to the paid area is announced, the light ups after sunset and the autumn Shuri Castle festival.
Tamaudun is located about a ten minute walk away from Shuri Castle. It is the largest cemetery in the prefecture where generations of Ryukyu kings are buried. It was built by the third generation king of Ryukyu for his father and was registered a world heritage site in 2000.
Shurikinjo Cobblestone Road
This is a cobblestone road made from Ryukyu lime stone, made in the mid-16th century as the main road leading south from Shuri Castle. The majority was destroyed during the war, however, about 300 meters remains, portraying a hint of the old days.