Shuri Castle




The castle was originally founded somewhere in the 13-14th centuries. It was modified and expanded several times coming into its hieght of power during as a palace and fortress for the Ryukyu kings who established the unified Ryukyu kingdom in 1429. These kings ruled for abour 400 years until the Meiji government ousted the king in 1879 and established the prefecture of Okinawa. From 1609 the kingdom was under the control of the Satsuma clan and thereby the Tokugawa Shogunate but they kept some freedom regarding their relationships with China.

Obviously Shuri Castle was neither influenced by the same factors as typical mainland castles nor does it have many of the same structures or types of architecture. The castle and other related sites in the area were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2000.

Visit Notes

not personally visited, all the pictures were donated by readers. I would love to visit this and some of the other castles of Okinawa someday.


Castle Profile
English Name Shuri Castle
Japanese Name 首里城
Year Founded 13-14 Century
Castle Type Hilltop
Castle Condition Reconstructed main keep
Designations Top 100 Castles, UNESCO World Heritage Site, National Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Main Keep Structure 2 levels, 2 stories
Year Reconstructed 1992 (wood, concrete)
Features gates, palace, stone walls
Visitor Information
Access Bus
Visitor Information
Time Required
Location Naha, Okinawa Prefecture
Coordinates 26° 13' 1.27" N, 127° 43' 9.41" E
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Added to Jcastle 2006
Admin Year Visited Viewer Contributed

(17 votes)
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2 months ago
Score 0++
Visited 2018 (https://itte...huri-castle/), the year before the fire. Shuri's unique layout and architecture left a strong impression on me - thanks in no small part to how different it all was to the mainland castles I was accustomed to exploring - and a return visit was on the cards. Sadly, the 2019 fire (and now the global medical emergency) means that this will have to wait.


24 months ago
Score 1++

website does not exist any longer.

In the morning of 31 October 2019, the main courtyard structures of the castle were destroyed in a fire.


68 months ago
Score 0++
Astonishing because it is a very different castle from the main islands and the colours are powerful, a magnificent glimpse of a lost empire.


81 months ago
Score 0++
Thanks for the congrats.


81 months ago
Score 0++
Congrats on hitting your 100th castle, Furikazan. I haven't been to this one yet, but it is certainly on my \To Visit List". Thanks for all the informative comments that you have been posting about your castle visits in Okinawa northern Kanto and Tohoku now. I will definitely make use of them when I visit castle sites in those regions"


81 months ago
Score 0++
Furinkazan, Congratulations on #100 and what a fantastic site to do it at! Are you visiting many more Okinawa Castles ?


81 months ago
Score 0++
Guess who is back in Japan? For my 100th castle visit in Japan, i wanted something special. I thaugt Shurijo would be perfect for that. It's easy to access with the Yui monorail, getting off at Shuristation. The reconstructed buildings are very interesting. Reconstruction is still going on behind the Seiden, on the eastern part of the castle. This year i bought the book for collecting the 100 meijô stamps. Coincidentally number 100 is Shurijô. I really recommend visiting this castle.


113 months ago
Score 0++

I hope I can clear some confusion here.

Shuri castle was built as both a fortified castle and a royal palace. The stone fortifications are Okinawan in design and belong to a separate (and older) tradition from mainland Japanese castles. If there was any influence from one to the other it was probably from Okinawa to Japan.

The wooden structures are a fusion of Chinese and Japanese elements and functions that are blended in a uniquely Okinawan way.

Therefore, Shuri Castle is unique in all the world. It belongs on this site and in other works about Japanese castles because Okinawa is today a part of Japan.

One more thing - the fact that it could be reconstructed after nearly being obliterated during the WW II and then having a university campus built on top of what little was left is truly a modern miracle!