oneworld

  • Planning Your Flight

  • Guide to Japan

  • About JAL

  • ツイートする
  • Facebookでシェア

World Heritage / Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu

Criteria: (ii) (iii) (vi) | Date of Inscription: 2000 | Location: Okinawa Prefecture | Justification for Inscription

UNESCO

Description

The Kingdom of Ryukyu, historically at the center of the trading routes between China and Japan thrived for centuries and over time produced its own distinctive culture.
The ruins of the castles and their walls today tell of an intriguing Ryukyu culture that once reigned unchallenged.

Shuri Castle
Shuri Castle
Illumination
Illumination
Zuisenmon gate
Zuisenmon gate
"Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu" are the ruins and cultural properties produced between the late 14th and 18th centuries when the Kingdom of Ryukyu was at the height of its existence.
Shuri-jo Castle is located in the eastern part of the city of Naha, Okinawa Prefecture and was the center of the Kingdom of Ryukyu in 1492, (the year Columbus traveled to America) when Lord Shohashi unified the island kingdom. At the time the kingdom was prospering due to trade links with China, Japan, and other Southeast Asian nations, especially so under the king Shoshin
who himself ascended the throne in 1477. Outer baileys were added to the northern part of Shuri Castle. The Seiden (main building of the palace) which housed a throne room was adorned by Chinese stone guardian statues and Ryutsyu (dragon-shaped columns) giving it a somewhat regal air for the time.
Shoshin continued to rule the kingdom for half a century and in the process established the golden age of the Kingdom of Ryukyu with the ruins of his castle reminding us of the age in which he lived and the nation he helped give birth to.
Shuri Castle
Okinawa Prefecture was established and the Kingdom of Ryukyu all but collapsed in 1879. Shuri Castle, destroyed and rebuilt three times in the past was attacked by invading U.S. forces in 1945 and was completely obliterated before being rebuilt most recently in 1985, in its 18th century form. The main wooden buildings including the Seiden (main building), Hokuden (north building), Nanden (south building), Una (square) and 10 gates were reconstructed on the few ruins of the latest attack. The castle walls were erected in the "Aikatazumi," method, peculiar to Okinawa and featuring piles of stones cut into polygon shapes prior to fitting. These reconstructed parts of Shuri castle are not included on the World Heritage list as only the ruins are registered. Chinese influences such as the vermilion-lacquered columns and dragon decorations are seen all around the site.
Shoshin
Shoshin became the Ryukyu king 48 years after the kingdom was first established and it was during his reign that the kingdom peaked. Implementing many policies and business ideas during his reign of 50 years, he had lords live in Shuri, the then capital of the kingdom in order to weaken their powers and also established a hierarchical system with the king at its head. As a result, the Guskus in which the lords once resided fell into disrepair. Shoshin emphasized construction and founded a number of facilities and buildings like the outer bailey of Shuri Castle and the military roads from Shuri Castle to Naha Port.
However, as well as strengthening his domestic grip he frequently promoted trade with other nations as part of a system that was a sign of things to come for the 400-year lifespan of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.
Zuisenmon gate
Zuisen means tasty water and the clear water which sprang from among the rocks near the Gusuku was admired as such - thus the name of Zuisenmon for the gate.
Planning Your Flight
  • Timetable
  • Route Map
  • Reservation / Services
  • Airport / Baggage / Check-in
  • Travel Information
Guide to Japan
About JAL
  • All About the JAL Group
  • Investor Relations
  • JAL and the Environment
  • System Maintenance
  • Site Policy
  • Privacy Policy
  • JALCARGO

Copyright © Japan Airlines. All rights reserved.