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2009
12.27

zakimi castle

built to oversee the northern reaches of the ryukyuan kingdom, zakimi castle (座喜味城) was designed by famed militarist gosamaru.  with regards to its design, there were a couple of first at zakimi castle.  first, a keystone was used in the arched entrances.  secondly, the first inner court was mostly surrounded by encircling high walls, thus rendering this first inner court as a death trap for any intruders who managed to get past the first gate.

used as a gun emplacement by the japanese, this castle was heavily bombed during WWII.  after the battle for okinawa had been won, the US military placed a radar station in this location, further damaging the remains; which have been restored.

this UNESCO world heritage site in okinawa can be reached by taking bus number 29 from downtown naha.  i expect the ride will take about 1.5 hours, but check with the station to make sure.  get off at zakimi stop (座喜味) and walk about 500 meters (third of a mile) to the castle.

i did not find this site as attractive as say katsuren castle or even nakagusuku castle because it did not have as much structure or terrain to look at.  admission is free if if you do go visit zakimi castle.  if you stop by the museum you can get an english pamphlet.

walking up to the castle, you will go through a tree covered walkway.  when i went it was full fo cicadas, which have a different sound here and are active much later in the year as well.  check out the sound in the video. ;)

the outer wall and main entrance to zakimi castle.

closer to the front gate.  in the upper left you can see the inner wall.  because of its height it could also be used for defense against enemies outside the outer wall.

this is the keystone design that was used solely at this location.  its very thin compared to western keystones.

the first inner court, with the gates for each wall visible.

kids enjoying the view of the first inner court sitting atop the inner wall.  they are eating pure sugar cane.  :)

a good view of the curved wall basically surrounding the first inner court.  you can understand the strategic disadvantages if you were trying to take over this castle.

the innermost court and its gate, through which you can see the main entrance to zakimi castle.

some more pics.

[nggallery id=18]

brief video with the cicadas chirping in the background.  ;)  this was in the beginning of november.

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