Chinen Castle

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Chinen Castle Ray 1.jpg

History

The old gusuku section of Chinen Castle according to Ryukyuan mythology was built by Amamikiyo, the goddess who created the Ryukyu Islands. The new gusuku section of Chinen Castle is said to be constructed by Uchimaufuya during the reign of Sho Shin(1477-1527), the third king of the Second Sho Dynasty.

Chinen Gusuku(Chinen Castle) is also one of the 14 sacred destinations on the Agariumaai, a royal pilgrimage during the Ryukyu Kingdom Era.

Between 1706 to 1903, there was a Chinen Bansho (知念番所), a district office located within Chinen Castle.


Visit Notes

Take either the A1 or A2 minibus from Nanjo City Hall and get off at the Chinen bus stop. Chinen Castle is around a 15-minute walk uphill from the bus stop. Most of what you see in the photos are restored stone walls. About 50 metres from Chinen Castle, there is the Noro Yashiki, the ruin where the Chinen priestess once resided. Enclosed within the walls of Chinen Castle is the shrine called Tomori Utaki.

About 200 metres west of Chinen Castle, down a little path, is the Ufakaru. This is the site of the legendary rice field planted by Amamikiyo. According to Ryukyuan mythology, rice cultivation originated and spread from here to the rest of the Ryukyu Islands. A bit further on from Ufakaru is the overgrown trail leading up to the tomb of the Chinen Aji.

There is a model of Chinen Castle in the Okinawan Prefectural Museum. I recommend any Ryukyuan gusuku(castle) fans to visit this enjoyable museum to learn more about the history of the Ryukyu Islands and associated gusukus. Apart from Chinen Castle, there are also several other models of Ryukyuan gusukus.

All the photos uploaded with this profile were taken in early May 2022.

RaymondW wrote this castle profile and contributed all the photos.


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Castle Profile
English Name Chinen Castle
Japanese Name 知念城
Alternate Names Chinen Gusuku
Founder Amamikiyo (old gusuku), Uchimaufuya (new gusuku)
Year Founded late 15th century to early 16th century
Castle Type Mountaintop
Castle Condition Ruins only
Designations National Historic Site
Historical Period Pre Edo Period
Features gates, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Bus
Visitor Information Free
Time Required 1 hour
Website https://www.kankou-nanjo.okinawa/bunka/details/172
Location Nanjo City, Okinawa Prefecture
Coordinates 26° 9' 37.44" N, 127° 48' 42.84" E
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Admin
Added to Jcastle 2023
Contributor RaymondW
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed


3.00
(2 votes)
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RaymondWDaimyo

9 months ago
Score 1++
No worries, Matthew. Nakijin and Nakagusuku castles are superb examples of Ryukyuan gusukus to visit. Actually, the latter is my favourite out of all the gusukus that I have visited in Okinawa. It would be great if you could post some comments about them based on your visits as I reckon other castle fans who want to visit gusukus in Okinawa will benefit from your insight and experience visiting these fortresses. I reckon the more comments there are about a particular castle on JCastle, the more helpful it will be for Japanese castle fans planning to visit that castle.
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Matthew WardGunshi

9 months ago
Score 0++
Thanks for the perspective! I've been to Nakijin and Nakagusuku castles too, and I noticed the great arched gateways.
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RaymondWDaimyo

9 months ago
Score 0++
It’s great that another castle fan has made it to this relatively little-known gusuku in Okinawa. It’s certainly a nice little castle ruin to visit and a contrast to the bigger five UNESCO World Heritage listed castles also profiled here on JCastle. The wooden frames in the gates at Chinen Castle aren’t original but are used to shore them up to prevent them from collapsing. At other gusukus such as Zakimi Castle and Nakagusuku Castle, you will see similar arched gateways without the wooden frames.
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Matthew WardGunshi

9 months ago
Score 0++

This is a pleasant little castle, and a nice introduction to the Okinawan gusuku style, with those nice curved stone walls. I also liked the gate shown in the pictures above: no idea of whether the wooden parts are original, but I've noticed that even with only the stone parts remaining, these Okinawan castle gates are pretty substantial.

Of course, if you really want to see much larger ruins like this, it's best to check out the big gusuku ruins jointly registered as a World Heritage Site.