Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Zakimi Castle Ruins and Museum | Okinawa | Japan Tourist, by Michael Flemming

Perched high on a hill-top in present day Yomitan Village, romantic Zakimi Castle offers a commanding 360 degree view of central Okinawa, and a window into Okinawa’s past. Known as Zakimi-jo Gusuku to the natives, it is in ruins but the walls have been restored and the foundation of the castle manor inside is intact. The castle was built by Gosamaru in the 15th century, a local warrior and lord who helped unify Okinawa’s disparate nations into one Ryukyu Kingdom. The castle was designated as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 2000.

The castle is constructed primarily out of coral and stone. The exterior walls tower up to 10 meters high but look much higher due to the steep grade of the grounds it is built upon. A stone archway with coral steps on the south allows access into a lower court, which appears to be an add-on or afterthought as its walls are an outcrop from the walls of the upper court. The large grassy area inside the archway slopes upward and northerly to more steps and a second archway along the interior walls that is the entrance to the upper court.

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