Have you heard of Kitanakagusuku? It’s a village nestled in Okinawa’s Nakagami District, boasting stunning ocean views, traditional architecture, and a laidback lifestyle. What’s the best way to see it? The Gusuku Route! Here are my top spots along the route.
Start: Lord Gosamaru’s Tomb
Lord Gosamaru was a Ryukyu-period lord who once resided over the Kitanakagusuku area, serving the kingdom loyally until an uprising by Lord Amawari, who fabricated a lie that Gosamaru had his eyes on the throne. The tomb serves as the start point of our journey. I suggest a climb to the top to catch a glimpse of the bay, before continuing on.
Nakagusuku Castle Ruins
Nakagusuku Castle ruins is our first real stop, with an incredible outlook and a rich, fascinating history. There is an entrance fee (400 yen for adults), but it’s worth paying. You can easily waste an hour or two here.
There are several pretty parks along the route, each holding their own unique charm. Be sure to check out each one; they’re a great spot for a quick rest!
Now for something typical to Okinawa! An impressive nest of Shisa sit close to the road, installed lovingly by the Shisa Scenery Creation Association.
Take a trip back to Ryukyu-period Okinawa and marvel at the pretty architecture and trees, and keep a lookout for a small Sanskrit monument that sits on the West wall (tip: it’s behind a traffic mirror).
End: Nakamura Old House
And so we reach the end! Nakamura Old House is a wonderful example of traditional construction, and for an entrance fee you can wander its grounds at your leisure.
If you have a car, park it at Nakamura Old House, and make your way to the start. Before you head off, go into the gift shop attached to Nakamura Old House, and ask for a map of the Gusuku Route. It’ll assist you greatly in finding all the spots, plus some hidden extras.
Written by Louise Dupuy Photos by Pete Leong of FotoShisa and Louise Dupuy