Chinen Castle


Chinen Castle Ray 1.jpg


The old gusuku section of Chinen Castle according to Ryukyuan mythology was built by Amamikiyo, the goddess who created the Ryukyu Islands. The new gusuku section of Chinen Castle is said to be constructed by Uchimaufuya during the reign of Sho Shin(1477-1527), the third king of the Second Sho Dynasty.

Chinen Gusuku(Chinen Castle) is also one of the 14 sacred destinations on the Agariumaai, a royal pilgrimage during the Ryukyu Kingdom Era.

Between 1706 to 1903, there was a Chinen Bansho (知念番所), a district office located within Chinen Castle.

Visit Notes

Take either the A1 or A2 minibus from Nanjo City Hall and get off at the Chinen bus stop. Chinen Castle is around a 15-minute walk uphill from the bus stop. Most of what you see in the photos are restored stone walls. About 50 metres from Chinen Castle, there is the Noro Yashiki, the ruin where the Chinen priestess once resided. Enclosed within the walls of Chinen Castle is the shrine called Tomori Utaki.

About 200 metres west of Chinen Castle, down a little path, is the Ufakaru. This is the site of the legendary rice field planted by Amamikiyo. According to Ryukyuan mythology, rice cultivation originated and spread from here to the rest of the Ryukyu Islands. A bit further on from Ufakaru is the overgrown trail leading up to the tomb of the Chinen Aji.

There is a model of Chinen Castle in the Okinawan Prefectural Museum. I recommend any Ryukyuan gusuku(castle) fans to visit this enjoyable museum to learn more about the history of the Ryukyu Islands and associated gusukus. Apart from Chinen Castle, there are also several other models of Ryukyuan gusukus.

All the photos uploaded with this profile were taken in early May 2022.

RaymondW wrote this castle profile and contributed all the photos.

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Castle Profile
English Name Chinen Castle
Japanese Name 知念城
Alternate Names Chinen Gusuku
Founder Amamikiyo (old gusuku), Uchimaufuya (new gusuku)
Year Founded late 15th century to early 16th century
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations National Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features gates, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Bus
Visitor Information Free
Time Required 1 hour
Location Nanjo City, Okinawa Prefecture
Coordinates 26° 9' 37.44" N, 127° 48' 42.84" E
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Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor RaymondW
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

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