Okinawa 1988-1991

Okinawa 1988-1991

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Nakijin Castle

A kingdom in ruins

In the hills on the outskirts of the Motobu Peninsula stands what is left of the Kingdom of Hokuzan, one of three kingdoms that ruled Okinawa between the 13th and 15th centuries.

Nakijin Castle was the center of the Hokuzan, or Northern Kingdom, until the early 1400s when it was attacked and conquered by Sho Hashi, king of the Chuzan, or Central Kingdom.

Today, after suffering damage brought on by war, time and weather, Nakijin Castle is now a shell of its past glory but still offers visitors a unique look at the rich history of Okinawa.

Covering close to 14 acres and surrounded by more than 1.5 kilometers of Ryukyu limestone rock, the Nakijin Castle site, constructed in the late 13th century, is open daily from 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Today, visitors can walk through the ruins and take a peek into the castle's past.

Stone walls that once protected the castle are still standing, surrounded by an ongoing archeological excavation. Many of the artifacts found at the site are on display at the Nakijin Village History and Culture Center, west of the ruins.

Shrines, constructed to pay tribute to gods, still stand as well, and stone pavements carved out of the bedrock remain on a trail known as the Hanta Trail. The trail leads to other shrines north of the ruins. There are also many areas with a bird's-eye-view of the coastline and the mountains of Northern Okinawa.

To find the Nakijin Castle ruins, travel north on Highway 58 towards Nago. Once inside the city, turn right onto Highway 72 northbound. Inside Nakijin Village, turn left onto Highway 505 westbound. Approximately three kilometers west of Highway 72 there is a sign on the left indicating the route to the site.

For more information on the Nakijin Castle site, call (098) 056-4400.

Portions of this story were compiled from information provided by Wonder Okinawa,, a Web site maintained by the Okinawa Prefectural Government.
Photos and full story here.