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World Heritage / Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu

Criteria: (ii) (iii) (vi) | Date of Inscription: 2000 | Location: Okinawa Prefecture | Justification for Inscription


Things to see

The ruins of the Shuri Castle

The ruins of the Shuri Castle
The ruins of the Shuri Castle
Seiden (Main Building)
Seiden (Main Building)
The castle walls
The castle walls
Shureimon gate
Shureimon gate
Shuri Castle had been the castle of Chuzan country during the Sanzan period (the period before Okinawa was wholly ruled by the kingdom of Ryukyu). It became the castle of the kingdom of Ryukyu in 1492, the time of the establishment of the kingdom and played a central role in the policy, diplomacy and culture of the kingdom until 1879. The castle had only an inner bailey during Shohashi's reign but expanded in size to 47,000 sq. m and measured 400 meters east to west and 200 meters north to south after the outer baileys were added from the early to mid-16th century.
Seiden (Main Building)
The Seiden was the largest and most significant of the buildings in the kingdom and was a symbol of domination over the whole of the Okinawan islands in its heyday.
The castle walls
The stone walls of the castle were 4 meters thick and from 6 to 11 meters in height. 12 gates, including the Kankaimon gate and the Zuisenmon gate were erected inside the walls with 2 others outside the castle.
Kankaimon gate
The Kankaimon was the front gate of the castle and was reconstructed in 1974. The 3m wide by 4m tall gate is in arch form and features a wooden tower at its highest point.
The Kyukeimon gate
The Kyukeimon gate style is essentially the same as the Kankaimon but it was used as a side entrance to the castle. The current gate is a 1983 reconstruction.
Ryuhi refers to the clear water flowing from the mouth of the stone dragon shaped carving in the local tongue and the clear water in this case was used for drinking by those in the castle.
Suimuiutaki was a place of god worship beside the wall of Shuri Castle and is believed to be a sacred place created by the gods.
Shureimon gate
The Shureimon was a mid-16th century gate actually constructed outside the castle.
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