Shuri Castle is one of the beautiful castles that you can find in Japan. It played a major role in the Japanese history and served as a focal point of foreign trade, economics, politics, and cultural heart of the Ryukyu Kingdom. The castle grounds and the area surrounding it has been designated as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. Over the years, it was able to maintain its radiating beauty attracting many tourists to come and visit the area.
No one knows exactly when Shuri castle was actually built. Some people claim that it was built during the Gusuku period when castles started to flourish in Okinawa. In the beginning, it became a palace for an independent kingdom which ruled the Ryukyu Islands, also known as the Nansei Islands. However, it almost didn’t survive the Battle of Okinawa during the Word War II. It was then reconstructed in 1992 with particular emphasis on the main building.
The castle played a central role in politics and religion in the past; because of this, so many historical sites of interest can be found in the area. Some of these are the Shikina-en Gardens, Kankaimon, and the “Bridge of Nation’s Bell.” Shikina-en is a royal garden favored by the royals in the past when it comes to relaxation. Kankaimon is the first front gate that you will be passing if you are on your way to Shuri Castle. It was heavily devastated during the battle but was rebuilt in 1974. The “Bridge of Nation’s Bell” is a 721-kg bronze bell which was also damaged during the battle but remained largely intact. It used to be hung at the main hall of the castle, but now, only a replica can be found at the site. The original bell can be found at the Okinawa Prefectural Museum.
Shuri Castle is one of the important structures in Okinawa that you should pay a visit. It is historically popular and has retained its unique beauty within the region over time.