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katsuren castle


katsuren castle (勝連城) had a lot of power within okinawa due to its wealth and extensive trade with other nations.  the most famous ruler, or aji, at katsuren castle was amawari, who ruled during the 15th century.  amawari was successful in gaining control over nakagusuku castle during his uprising.  however, a later attempt on shuri castle failed and proved fatal for amawari.  this pivotal moment lead to further unification of okinawa island under the ryukyuan kingdom centered in shuri castle.

personally i preferred this site over nakagusuku castle.  there is more information available on-site in the form of signs, as well as a visitor’s center across the street where the parking lot is located with english pamphlets and artifacts from the site.  admission to the visitor’s center and the castle are free.  built atop a hill on a peninsula, the view from the highest point at the castle, which is called the first enclosure, is great in every direction.

to get to this UNESCO world heritage site you can take the yakena line of the okinawa bus or the ryukyu bus, numbers 27 or 80.  get off at the nishihara (西原) bus stop and walk 10 minutes to the castle.

while the first shot in this article is head on taken from what used to be the fourth enclosure ear looking in a north west direction, this second photo was taken from close to where the south gate once stood.

the stairs leading up to the third enclosure.

the third enclosure at katsuren castle was an open area used for conducting ceremonies.  along the front gate wall the bones of infants have been excavated, the reason for which is not clear.

the most important building at katsuren castle was situated in the second enclosure.  a mock foundation has been placed here for visualization.

on the northwest of the second enclosure, straight ahead in the above photo, is a cave that is thought to have been a place of refuge or an escape route.

the first enclosure is the highest point in the castle.  many artifacts from other countries were excavated in this area.  below is a photo of the sacred shrine located here.

looking from the first enclosure out towards the southeast.  the second and third enclosure are clearly seen.

enjoy the photos. ;)

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i hope you enjoy this video of katsuren castle.

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