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.
There seems to be a castle wherever you go in Japan, but Osaka Castle should be on your short list of must visit Japanese castles. Originally built in 1583, Osaka Castle is the main symbol of Osaka. If you happen to visit between late March and Early April, then you’ll be lucky to see the castle surrounded by cherry blossom trees. Now THAT would be pretty (and cost you a pretty penny).