Nakijin Castle Ruins sit atop a single hill in the village of Nakijin. This World Heritage site is mostly laid to ruin, but offers a wonderful insight into the past and life in the times of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Let’s take a look!

Construction started on the castle around the 13th Century, finally reaching completion in the 15th Century. It’s strategically placed, with rivers, cliffs and a steep valley acting as natural defences. It has a great 360 degree view of the surrounding area, great for approaching enemies, or cameras if you’re a modern visitor. December 2000 saw the site achieve World Heritage status.

For those who are unfamiliar, Nakijin is in the North, well beyond Onna and Nago. The village it dwells within is peaceful and serene, with typical Japanese architecture and interlaced with native species of flora. The drive up is a treat in itself. It takes around 2 hours to reach it from Naha, maybe longer on the weekends with traffic, but well worth the effort.

There’s ample parking, though busy weekends may see you parking slightly downhill (it’s a short walk, about 3-5 minutes depending on pace, and the incline is gentle!). Other facilities include toilets, food vendors and a ticket/ information booth. At 400 yen per adult, it’s an inexpensive day out (less for children, students and seniors). Be prepared for lots of steps and lots of walking. Some flat areas, but mostly not very stroller or wheelchair friendly I’m afraid.

The ruins are actually surprisingly complete in places. Due to the nature of the site, the outlying walls had to flow with the landscape, meaning they are curved and wavy, very pretty. The site is well maintained and clean, but watch your footing on wet days, it can be slippery! The entrance to the main part of the ruins is beautiful, a set of steps cuts through and up, flanked on both sides by Sakura trees (beautiful in the spring, they have a festival for viewing them), and with a spectacular view of the ocean. You can see where the turquoise of the shallower regions merge with the royal blue of the deep. This is a great place to take pictures, you can get the steps, the area beyond Nakijin and the ocean all in one shot (with or without smiling relatives/ companions). Perfect. Meander round and take in the panoramic views, enjoy the flora, or just marvel at the beauty and history of the place. Considering this was originally built in the 13th-15th Century, I think it’s in really good shape.

Opening Hours

MONDAY – SUNDAY  8:00 am – 6:00 pm

Nakijin Castle Ruins

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Nakijin Castle Ruins