Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Okinawa 沖縄県 designated in 2000. It is also one of the nine Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu and a Designated Historical Monument (史跡 Shiseki) by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1972.
Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Okinawa 沖縄県 designated in 2000. It is also one of the nine Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu and a Designated Historical Monument (史跡 Shiseki) by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1972.

 

Hubby has sworn that he will not leave the house until summer is over. To those who have been and are in Okinawa, you will know what I mean. This island sizzles in summer! But weekends are meant to be outdoors so we braved the sun and drove to Katsuren Castle located on the east side of the island. It is perhaps one of the most beautiful backyards we have in Okinawa and probably my new favorite. A gusuku (fortresses of regional chieftains when Okinawa was an independent Ryukyu Kingdom) nestled on top of a hill in Uruma City, it is one of Okinawa’s proud UNESCO World Heritage Sites designated in 2000. It is also one of the nine Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu and a Designated Historical Monument (史跡 Shiseki) by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1972.

Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Okinawa 沖縄県 designated in 2000.
Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Okinawa 沖縄県 designated in 2000.
Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) is one of the nine Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu and a Designated Historical Monument (史跡 Shiseki) by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1972.
Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) is one of the nine Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu and a Designated Historical Monument (史跡 Shiseki) by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1972.
Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku), a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.
Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku), a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.

 

HISTORY

It is said that King Sho Taikyu of Ryukyu Kingdom was threatened by the power of an aji lord (ruler of a petty kingdom in the history of the Ryukyu Islands), Amawari of Katsuren, so he arranged a marriage between Amawari and his daughter, Momoto Fumiagari. However, the king learned that Amawari plotted to attack Shuri Castle and overthrow him as a king so he had his royal forces defeat and killed Amawari. There were no powerful lords that arose from Katsuren Castle thereafter.

Some of the artifacts found at Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.
Some of the artifacts found at Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.

 

CASTLE TOUR

The castle has 4 enclosures.

3rd Enclosure – Ceremonies and rituals took place in this enclosure.
2nd Enclosure – It is believed that a pillard building as grand as Shurijo Castle stood within, serving as a core of the castle and a public office of the region.
1st Enclosure – It is speculated as a repository for valuables.

The stairs leading to the third enclosure of Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.
The stairs leading to the third enclosure of Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.
View of the second and first enclosure as seen from the third enclosure of Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.
View of the second and first enclosure as seen from the third enclosure of Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.
The old and original steps to the top of Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) as seen on the left, and the new stairs on the right.
The old and original steps to the top of Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) as seen on the left, and the new stairs on the right.
Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan is built on a limestone and some beautiful rock formations are very captivating.
Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan is built on a limestone and some beautiful rock formations are very captivating.

 

RELIGIOUS SITE

There are numerous gods being worshipped in ancient Okinawa, believed to protect the island and the Okinawans in daily life. There are some of these altars at Katsuren to protect the Aji and the castle itself.

The altar of Umichimun or God of Fire at Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan. This is  believed to be the castle's kitchen.
The altar of Umichimun or God of Fire at Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan. This is believed to be the castle’s kitchen.
The Ushinujigama (gama means cave) Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan. This was used as a refuge during war and natural disasters.
The Ushinujigama (gama means cave) Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan. This was used as a refuge during war and natural disasters.
The Tamanomiuji-utaki at Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan. This stone protects the castle as a sacred shrine. This is also a place of worship dedicated to a god who protects the Aji or the regional lord of Okinawa. This is believed to lead to Ushinujigama.
The Tamanomiuji-utaki at Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan. This stone protects the castle as a sacred shrine. This is also a place of worship dedicated to a god who protects the Aji or the regional lord of Okinawa. This is believed to lead to Ushinujigama.

 

FROM THE TOP

And the reward after the climb? A beautiful panorama view from the top!

View of the lower enclosures from the top of The Tamanomiuji-utaki at Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.
View of the lower enclosures from the top of The Tamanomiuji-utaki at Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.
The beautiful panorama view from the top (first enclosure) of Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.
The beautiful panorama view from the top (first enclosure) of Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.

 

Still want to lurk at home until summer is over?

Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.
Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.
Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.
Katsuren Castle 勝連城 (Katsuren-gusuku) in Uruma City, Okinawa 沖縄県, Japan.

 

ADMISSION is free :)

 

 

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