| Okinawa

Let’s climb to the world heritage site, Katsuren Castle ruins!

cyoujyouheno kaidan
Katsuren castle (勝連城跡) ruins were selected by UNESCO as one of the “Kingdom of Ryukyu Gusuku Sites and Related Properties” World Heritage Sites in 2000.
All that remains is mainly masonry, but you can still feel vividly the 600-year-old glory. This place is alive with the presence of people in history.
This is why it is such a popular power spot.
sekaiisan ishizumi
It is a world’s heritage site, but you can visit for free. There is also a 40 car parking lot that is also free.
Annual maintenance helps keep the site clean and easily accessible for tourists. When you arrive I recommend parking next to the Katsuren Castle resting place. There is a Tourist information center, excavated goods exhibition, and a specialty shop “Uruma-ru”(うるまーる). There are also straw mats that you can rest on. Please have a look at the model of Katsuren Castle in the rest area.
Since there are great views of the site once you climb up the hill you can better understand what the castle look like from looking at the model.
Doing so will give you a better perspective and the reality of the site will increase the further that you climb.
iseki mokei
Now climb up to the Castle.
The Castle reaches towards the sky as towers above the city.
Even without a castle the excitement rises as you approach the area!
sobietatu shiroato
There is a roadway as you can see, but vehicles are not allowed to enter.
ryuugakakenoboruyouna ishidumi
With a cobalt blue sea as background, it looks like a dragon making its way to the sky.
temaegahikui ishidan
These stone steps are lower in the front which makes them difficult to climb.
This was done to slow down the enemy trying to climb up to the castle.
Experiencing the difficult climb gives you a realistic feel of the citadel.
These places are slippery with rain, so both men and women please note that
rather than formal stiff shoes, please come in easy walking shoes.
asurechikkunoyouna ishidumi
If you start to feel a little less athletic, please use the stairs on the right to preserve your physical strength.
Here is the four-legged gate.
Cut out so tightly from stone at a time when there were no power tools, it is surprising just how accurate the measurements of the angles are.
The structure of the gate is the same as the Red Gate at The University of Tokyo.
Since ancient times, the technology and power of this castle were feared by those who flourished in trade with Asia. There is an interesting service here at Katsuren Castle. Around the Castle, there is display board with a QR code. Enter the QR code on your Smartphone and you can listen and read a commentary in 4 languages. (You can experience it here- : http://katsurenjo.jp/). You need to use the Wifi of the castle, so please get an information flyer in the rest area.
Finally one of more flight to climb to the highest point of Katsuren castle.
cyoujyouheno kaidan
cyoujyou madika
cyoujyoukarano keshiki
Once the view of the most famous Amawari. (阿麻和利).This view is the same as it was when viewed from the powerful castle.
If overlooks the Kuruwa and the splendor of the castle, which was built by the wealth obtained in trade. You can also see Yokatu-goto(与勝五島) on the other side of the sea road.
In addition, you can see the North Yanbaru mountains and the open wilderness, Chujo Castles(中城城) of Gosamaru (enemy residences), and Shuri castle.
Seeing how close these other castles were helps you to understand why there was so much attention put towards overthrowing the Ryukyu king.
In order to convey the open air feeling of the area I took this 180-degree panoramic photo.
panorama syashin
shirokabenishizumu yuuhi
While watching the sun set over the city walls, I was thinking about the marriage of convenience, that was done here for political gain.
The daughter of the Sho-taikyu king was married to Awamari, who was trying to kill her father.
Eventually, her husband was overthrown and killed. She went on to marry one of her servants. It was quite an emotional story.
By the way, do you see an elephant in this part of the wall?
zounoyounimieru shirokabe
Though this Okinawa Gusuku is elegant with many curves. It was designed this way to make it easier to defend against any attacking enemies. Still it will remain almost forever in our hearts like a fine piece of architectural art.