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  • Writer's pictureAmy S

Exploring Okinawa | Nakijin Castle Ruins

Updated: Aug 31, 2022

Located on the top of the Motobu peninsula on the main island of Okinawa, lies the Nakijin castle ruins. It's a designated UNESCO World Heritage site, and yes, we are definitely going to explore it. Despite the sweltering heat that would make you feel like you were in fact boiling from the amount of sweat incurred, we (me and the kids) trekked on.

The 700 plus year old ruins were built in the late 1200's. Back then Okinawa was divided into three kingdoms. Up in the north was the Hokuzan kingdom, in the middle was the Chuzan's and in the south, the Nanzan's. Nakijin would serve as the castle of the Hokuzan king until unification of the kingdoms then forming the Ryukyu Kingdom.

Alright, enough with the history lesson. Here's my honest review of the place. It's a beautiful castle ruin with some of the best views of the coast. I can easily see why it was the chosen site for such a magnificent piece of ancient architecture. There are shrines located within, as well as bridges and pathways even some that are basically a scramble down the rocks. You could really feel what it was like here back in the golden years of its reigning kingdom. And compared to some other castle sites, this one had a lot more going on. I mean, you can even make your own sugar cane juice! Hey, that's a win for a hot and sweltering day! By all means, go explore the ruins, there are shops and a museum onsite too. This one was good fun for the family, but anyone could easily enjoy it just as much.

Nakijin-jo Castle Site

Nakijin Village, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture

Cost: 360-600Y per person

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