Japan Travel

The Ruins of Nakijin Castle

Most people know Okinawa as being a part of Japan. However, it wasn’t until 1879 that Okinawa became Japan’s southernmost prefecture. Prior to that, Okinawa was known as the Ryukyu Islands and was ruled by the Ryukyu Kingdom, which consisted of three individual principalities: Hokuzan, Chuzan, and Nanzan. Nakijin Castle, built in the early 14th century and home to the Hokuzan Kingdom, is now one of five castles of the Ryukyu Kingdom that are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

Greg, Masahide, Deborah, and Mimi in front of a miniature sculpture of Nakijin Castle.



It was a very hot and humid day (that’s Japan in the summer for you). That lady with the umbrella…I was envious.


The group of scholars that I travelled with listening carefully to a description of the signage.


Prior to visiting, I read a few articles about the Ryukyu Kingdom and Nakijin Castle. That said, nothing compares to actually visiting a structure that was built centuries ago. Chills always run down my spine.



Our group here trying to decide which route to take.


Dr. Lonny Carlile, the workshop coordinator and director of the Center for Japan Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa.




This is Professor Miriam (Mimi) Sharma, professor of Asian Studies at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. She always had the best snacks!


Professor Albert Wong, from the University of Texas at El Paso, studies the design intricacies at Nakijin Castle.


A short hike up will bring you to a large clearing.


Turn around and you’ll see a magnificent tree tucked between two wooden benches.


These two visitors were enjoying the view from one of Okinawa’s most historic sites.


I don’t blame them…especially when this is the view.


Nakijin Castle
Japan, 〒905-0428 Okinawa Prefecture, Kunigami District, Nakijin, Imadomari, 5101
Directions: From Naha, you can catch the Yanbaru Express Bus at Naha Airport and get off at Nakijin Joseki Iriguchi. The bus trip will take about 2.5 hours, and the walk from your stop at Nakijin Joseki Iriguchi will about 20 minutes.

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