Okinawa Castle contributions from RaymondW


Okinawa Castle contributions from RaymondW


RaymondW has recently discovered the fascination of castles in Okinawa and kindly contributed some profiles for new castles as well as updating existing profiles with some new photos and detailed commentary. In particular I appreciate the extra commentary about transportation and getting around the castles in Okinawa, which can be half the battle!

Comments and Photo additions:

The new castles are in the list below with visit notes. I hear there may be more in the pipeline so watch this space for more updates on Okinawa!


Itokazu Castle / 糸数城

Itokazu Gusuku 1.jpg

Itokazu Castle is the biggest fortress in the southern part of the main island of Okinawa. It's situated on a plateau with near vertical cliffs on three sides. On the eastern side, where attackers are likely to approach from, there are stone walls stretching hundreds of metres, like a mini-version of the Great Wall of China. Outside the eastern side of the castle is the Kurayashiki Ruin (蔵屋敷跡), a settlement ruin which was extensively investigated between 2006 and 2013. The castle’s parapets looks accessible, but there are also “Do not climb” signs below them. For castle fans who like taking a lot of photos, you will probably need 2 hours on site, particularly if you also spend time walking around the Kurayashiki Ruin. All the photos uploaded with this profile were taken in December 2021. RaymondW wrote this castle profile and contributed all the photos.
Mie Castle / 三重城

Mie Gusuku 100.jpg

There isn’t much to see here at this castle ruin. There are some stone wall remnants as well as a poor post-WWII attempt to rebuild some of the walls with modern concrete and bricks. I visited this location for its historical significance as one of the places related to the Satsuma invasion of the Ryukyu Kingdom in 1609. RaymondW wrote this castle profile and contributed all the photos.
Omono Castle / 御物城

Omono Gusuku 2.jpg

This castle ruin is located in an area that forms part of the Naha Port Facility (formerly called Naha Military Port), so it is off-limits to tourists, but you can see the castles ruin consisting of stone walls partially covered by undergrowth and a gate from a distance using a pair of binoculars or a camera’s telephoto lens. The photos included with this profile were taken from near the Meiji Bridge when I visited in December 2021. RaymondW wrote this castle profile and contributed all the photos.
Tamagusuku Castle / 玉城城

Tamagusuku 35.jpg

This castle ruin has three baileys and incorporates natural rock formations with stone walls. The arched gate into the Main Bailey was created by carving an opening in the natural limestone. Like other Ryukyuan gusukus, this castle ruin has a sacred shrine(utaki) within its precincts. For those with a car, there is parking at the foot of the castle ruin for several cars. There are infrequent buses, and the nearest bus stop is 20 minutes away on foot, so going to Tamagusuku Castle by taxi may be the best option if you don’t have a (rental) car. RaymondW wrote this castle profile and contributed all the photos.
Urasoe Castle / 浦添城

Urasoe Castle 100.jpg

For this castle profile, I have included both the Urasoe Youdore and Urasoe Castle because even though they are two distinct places with different functions, they form an integral whole for this national historic site.

Urasoe Castle is one of the three biggest castles in Okinawa, in the same size category as Nakajin Castle and Shuri Castle. However, it will seem to be smaller in comparison when you visit it because portions of the Urasoe Castle are off-limits or inaccessible because it is overgrown.

There is also a network of tunnels dug during WWII to shelter Japanese soldiers and civilians. The entrances to some of these tunnels have bilingual signs (English/Japanese) in front of them, but they are fenced off and closed to visitors.

This castle ruin is a short walk, around 7 to 8 minutes, from the Urasoemaeda Station (Yui Monorail). Be sure to stop by the Urasoe Park South Entrance Management Office (concrete building), where there is an informative model of Urasoe Castle Ruin. It will give you a better idea of the original castle’s layout before you visit it.

There is also the Urasoe Gusuku and Youdore Museum, a few hundred metres walk from the castle ruin in the direction of Urasoe Park. It has a lot of information (mainly in Japanese) about the castle and royal tomb including a replica of the tomb’s interior at Urasoe Youdore. Entry to the museum costs 100 yen.

RaymondW wrote this castle profile and contributed all the photos.
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25 months ago
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Eric, there are definitely more Okinawan gusuku profiles in the pipeline. I wrote those five new gusuku profiles and uploaded the accompanying photos in February and March from my first two trips, the second being in December last year. It takes time to sort through the hundreds of photos and then write up the profiles, so the next set of Okinawan castle profiles from my third trip there in May should be sometime in July and August.


25 months ago
Score 1++


Thanks for the news update about the Okinawan castle profiles that I added to JCastle a few months ago.


25 months ago
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We're all waiting for the next set!