Shujiro Castle is located in Naha, in Okinawa Prefecture. Due to the great history that this bastion represents, it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Formerly, the name of the capital of Okinawa It was called Shuri and it was also the capital of the so-called Ryukyu Kingdom. From its creation in 1300, the castle was the residence of the Ryukyu kings, until Ryukyu’s annexation to Japan in 1879. Later, the Ryukyu kingdom was abolished and renamed Okinawa.
The color of the castle is vermilion, very different from the castles that are normally found scattered throughout Japan. This is because the Ryukyu kingdom had a lot of Chinese influence. The design of the castle is a sample of the cultural difference between Okinawa and the rest of Japan.
The former site of major state affairs and ceremonies, the Seiden, is the most luxuriously decorated building and treasure in Okinawa. It was erected on the top of the hill.
The castle can be explored in a circle starting with Nanden and Hokuden, old castle halls that have been transformed into modern museums that explain in detail what life was like in the Ryukyu kingdom and, later, enter the Seiden, where Find a replica of the Ryukyu king’s throne and admire the wonderful decoration of the room.
The historian George H. Kerr described the castle as “one of the most admirable sites that can be found anywhere in the world due to its peculiarities, among others, because it dominates the countryside that extends for miles around and, moreover, looks towards distant sea horizons at each side”.
Unfortunately, the main buildings of Shuri Castle were destroyed by a fire that occurred the night of Oct 31, 2019. Currently, the authorities designed the plans for its reconstruction in 2026. Meanwhile, they are encouraging tourists to visit the castle and observe the reconstruction work.
This castle is, without a doubt, the most important cultural heritage of Okinawa prefecture, so it is suggested that during your stay in Naha city you take the opportunity to visit such an important place.