After finishing the meal, I left the restaurant to walk around Shurijo Castle Park. First, I headed to Shureimon Gate which is located near the entrance of Shurijo Castle Park. Shureimon Gate was burned down during the Battle of Okinawa and was restored in 1958.
Shureimon Gate is quite famous as it is on 2,000 yen note. Although 2,000 yen notes are rarely found in the main island of Japan, they are still circulated in the main island of Okinawa, and I received two 2,000 yen notes as changes when I dined at a local izakaya. I’m not sure if I can use them in Osaka without problem, but they may be good for souvenirs.
There is Sonohyan-utaki Stone Gate (World Heritage) soon after passing through Shureimon Gate. The king prayed for a safe journey in front of this stone gate upon his departure from the Castle.
Next, there is Kankaimon Gate, which serves as the front gate of Shurijo Castle. “Kankai” means “welcome,” and it was named as a way of welcoming the visitors to the Castle, such as the Chinese investiture envoys called “Sapposhi.”
After passing through Zuisenmon Gate which has a meaning of “an auspicious spring,” next there is Roukokumon Gate. “Roukoku” means “water clock” in Chinese, and it was named after the water clock in the turret on the gate which was used for timing.
After passing through Roukokumon Gate, you will get to a place with a nice view. From here, you can enjoy a panoramic view of the city of Naha and Naha Port. It was a warm and comfortable day when I visited Shurijo Castle although it was at the end of January, so I stopped here for a while and looked at the scenery of Naha.
Next, there is Koufukumon Gate. Two offices were housed in the gate during the Ryukyu Kingdom era, and now it serves as the Castle’s ticket office.
Koufukumon Gate leads to a square called Shicha-nu-una. You can walk up to this square for free. There is Suimui Utaki in this square. “Suimui” is another name of Shurijo Castle, and “utaki” is a sacred place. According to the myth of the beginning of Ryukyu, this utaki is said to be a sacred place created by gods. And it is said that there were 10 places of worship (including this utaki) called “Totake” within the Castle precincts.
You need to purchase a ticket at the ticket office to pass through Houshinmon Gate, the final gate leading to Shurijo Castle Seiden (the main palace of Shurijo Castle). The admission fee is 820 yen for an adult. I bought a ticket at Koufukumon Gate which I passed through earlier, and headed to Shurijo Castle Seiden.