Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa

Okinawa 1~ 9

 

1Yaese Park (八重瀬公園) in Yaese Town

Kanakoさん(@mcki0627)が投稿した写真

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Beautiful view of southern Okinawa including cherry blossoms. Light-up of 500 cherry blossom trees during the evening.
Access: About 60min by car from Naha airport
Address: Tomori 1607, Yaese-cho, Shimajiri-gun, 901-0402 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
goryokaku-tower.co.jp

 

2Yaedake Sakura-no-mori Park (八重岳桜の森公園) in Motobu Town

舒跑さん(@shupau1987)が投稿した写真

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: 7000 Ryukyu Kanhi cherry blossoms will color the mountain view. Cherry blossom light-up during the evening.
Access: About 120min by car from Naha airport
Address: 921 Namizato, Motobu-cho, Kunigami-gun, 905-0222 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawatravelinfo.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


3Nakijin Castle Ruins (今帰仁城跡) in Nakijin Village

Viewing preiod: End of January to early February
Details: Ocean view including Kanhi cherry blossoms. Light-up during the evening.
Access: About 90min by car from Naha airport
Address: 5101 Imadomari, Nakijin, Kunigami-gun, 905-0428 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawatravelinfo.com


4Nago Central Park (名護中央公園) in Nago City

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details:The entire area has 200,000 cherry blossom trees. Enjoy look at them while walking a 2km long path to the castle.
Access: About 90min by car from Naha airport
Address: 5511 Nago, Nago-shi, 905-0012 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawa-information.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


5Yogi Park (与儀公園) in Naha City

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: 400 Hikan cherry blossom trees could be seen along the riverside.
Access: About 20min by car from Naha airport
Address: 1-1-1 Yorimiya, Naha-shi, 902-0076 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
nihon-kankou.or.jp.e.wp.hp.transer.com


6Darumayama Park (だるま山園地) in Kumejima Town

s-zimaさん(@sachi_zima)が投稿した写真

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: You can enjoy Hikan cherry blossoms and beautiful flowers surrounded by the sea.
Access: About 4 hours by ferry from Naha city
Address: Uezu, Kumejima-cho, Shimajiri-gun, 901-3138 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
ritou.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


7Manko Park (漫湖公園) in Naha City

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Nice view of a large row of bright pink-colored cherry blossom trees together with a river.
Access: About 10min by car from Naha airport
Address: 3-23-1 Kohagura, Naha-shi, 900-0024 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★★☆
tripadvisor.com


8Sueyoshi Park (末吉公園) in Naha City

mineさん(@mine_nakamura)が投稿した写真

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Watch Hikan cherry blossoms by hiking through the jungle-like path.
Access: About 20min by car from Naha airport
Address: Shurisueyoshi-cho 1-3-1, Naha-shi, 903-0801 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
okinawatravelinfo.com

Ultimate Map of Cherry Blossom Spots in Japan : Okinawa


9Kunigami Forest Park (国頭村森林公園) in Kunigami Village

Viewing period: End of January to early February
Details: Fantastic view from the top of the hill surrounded by cherry blossoms.
Access: About 120min by car from Naha airport
Address: 1094 Hentona, Kunigami-son, 905-1411 Okinawa
Ranking: ★★★☆☆
tripadvisor.com

World Heritage (10): Shurijo Castle

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Japan is a land of castles, some like Himeji Castle, which is also registered as World Heritage. But to see the country’s most visited castle, you’ll have to travel all the way down to Okinawa, for a fortress that captures 500 years of Ryukyu royalty.

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130 m high overlooking the urban capital of Naha, Shurijo Castle lies surrounded by over 1,000 m of winding limestone ramparts. As the main castle of the Ryukyu Kingdom from 1429-1879, it was the flourishing center of politics and cultural exchange.

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UNESCO registered Nakajin-jo Castle’s remains, said to resemble the Great Wall of China.

Known as a gusuku (stone fortress) castle, over 220 of these once thrived across the island before the second Sho dynasty unified the kingdom. In 2000, nine gusuku and related ruins were registered as a cultural world heritage site, of which Shurijo Castle is the glorious centerpiece.

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Chinese-style lion statue

Unlike Japan, the Ryukyu Kingdom enjoyed intensive trade with China, Korea, and southeast Asia. Shurijo Castle reflects this unique cultural interchange in its architecture, for which it is most valued. And though burnt down multiple times—most recently during the Battle of Okinawa—its 1992 reconstructed form fills you with a sense of the majesty of this culturally-infused kingdom.

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The castle is divided into three main areas: the Kyo no Uchi, where services and rituals took place; the Ouchibara private grounds for the royal family; and the Una, where most of the large governmental buildings are lined up. The two most popular sites are below.

Shurei Gate, also found on the 2,000 yen note.

Shurei Gate

Walk through this gorgeous two-level gate and enter the “Land of Courtesy”, as the characters on its wooden signage read. It was said that an ancient Chinese emperor spoke of the Ryukyu Kingdom as a land that prized such courtesy, and the wonderful red tile roofing balanced with white lime continues to offer such a warm greeting to all who visit.

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Seiden

For the best sampling of cultural variety, gaze upon the golden dragons and royal vermillion lacquer coating of the Seiden (main building) in the Una area. These Chinese elements blend beautifully with the Japanese style roofing on this, the island’s largest wooden structure.

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Chinese-influenced dragon pillars, flanking the stairway to the Seiden.

Kings and queens carried out their governmental activities here, and if you head inside, you can even get a glimpse of the royal throne!

The annual Shurijo Castle Festival procession
The annual Shurijo Castle Festival procession in autumn.

Though seasonal festivals and processions take place throughout the year, you can also take a quick 15-min time slip here each morning to witness the ringing of the gong and chanting of “Ukejo” at the opening ceremony at 8:30am. But whether visiting early or late, be sure to wear comfortable shoes, as climbing this castle hill requires some steep trekking!

Access: A 15-min. walk from Shuri Station (Yui Rail)

Photos courtesy of Okinawa Convention & Visitors’ Bureau and JNTO