During our trip in Okinawa, we also visited Shuri Castle, or 'Shuri-jo' in Japanese. It is located near the capital Naha, in the adjacent town of Shuri. From Naha, it can be reached pretty easily by monorail or bus. The castle was built during the 14th century, when Shuri was the capital of Ryukyu Kingdom (an extended version of the current islands of Okinawa).
Shuri castle is credited with the birth of 'Shuri-te', a martial art close to karate. Since then, the castle has been repeatedly destroyed and rebuilt each time. Shuri had a last violent destruction at the end of World War 2, during the Battle of Okinawa in 1945. For the record, this destruction is a playable mission to play in the videogame Call of Duty World at War.
Shuri Castle was finally rebuilt in 1992 to enter UNESCO World Heritage. It hosted the G8 in 2000; during the visit, you can see old pictures with Clinton, Putin, etc. Today, the entire area that surrounds the castle is called the Shuri Castle Park (with its front door 'Shureimon'). Many tourists visit the park throughout the year, as well as the castle, gardens, several other entertainment buildings, and of course restaurants and souvenir shops.
It is a rather interesting trip culturally, and pleasant for the beauty of its landscapes.
How to get to Shuri Castle
By bus -- From Kokusai-dori, bus #1 until Shurijokoen-iriguchi (20 minutes, ¥230 / ~US$ 2.00)
By monorail -- From Shuri station on Okinawa monorail, about 15 minutes walk or 5 minutes by bus #7 or 8 (¥160 / ~US$ 1.40, Shurijomae station)
Location unreachable with the JR Pass
Get there with a rental car
Find a flight to Okinawa Naha
Admission: ¥820 (~US$ 7.30)
Get your Japanese Yens free of charge
Open every day:
- from 8:30am to 6pm in December, January, February and March
- from 8:30am to 7pm in April, May and June
- from 8:30am to 8pm in July, August and September
- from 8:30am to 7pm in October and November
Last entry 30 minutes before closing
Closed on the first Wednesday and Thursday of July