Back in April we went out with some friends to Katsuren-jo or Katsuren Castle ruins. It's one of many, many castle sites on the island, and none of us had been to this one yet. It was a gorgeous day for an adventure!
There are many legends of this site and one of the most famous lords in Okinawan history, Lord Amawari. One interesting version of history (1450's) is about Amawari as a sickly child who was abandoned in the mountains to die and instead survived and married the daughter of King Sho Hashi. After becoming a powerful ruler of the Katsuren region, Amawari attempted to overthrow and kill King Sho, resulting in defeat and his own death. Moral of the story: don't fuck with the king.
The castle was pretty easy to get to, you sort of head out into the middle of nowhere, following signs for "Katsuren-jo" and viola! you've found it! It's a free historic site, with plenty of parking below which is always appreciated here. We started with a steep long hill up to the base of the castle. The view from here was awesome, you'll see in a few moments.
At the base of the ruins were a few sites, including a cave (there are caves EVERYWHERE on this island). The word Ujinuji means "a place of refuge in time of danger from enemy attack".
Next to the cave was what was left of a large palace. Based on the structure and location in the castle, it was likely the most important room in the building (but unknown what for), built nearly entirely of limestone.
I know you can't get enough of Aaron's unique pixelated face. It cracks me up every time I edit it. Maybe I should just make him a pixelation on a stick to hold up. Ha!
Once we got to the top, we kinda forgot to continue reading about the castle, and instead took in all the views. Talk about a great location for a castle...you could see everything from here, especially with the Pacific Ocean on both sides of it! In the background of this photo are a few islands that we plan on exploring soon.
On the other side, a view of a few towns on the main part of Okinawa Island. I think I see my favorite fish market!!!
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