Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A UNESCO World Heritage Stone Gate in Okinawa: Travel Photos

This stone gate in Okinawa, Japan was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the year 2000.

Built sometime during the 16th Century, it is an architectural example of Chinese influence on the Okinawa islands during the period when Okinawa was known as the Ryukyu Kingdom.

The gate, known as Sonohyan-utaki Ishimon, guards the entranceway of a sacred grove.

It is located just across the street from Shuri Castle.

Many travelers, visiting Okinawa's UNESCO Sites pass right by this cultural asset on the way to the #1 tourist attraction on the island, without even noticing it.

The stone gate was only opened for the King of the Ryukyu Islands and royalty so they could enter the sacred grove before leaving the castle to embark upon a journey.

Here, they would pray to the gods for a safe return.

If you ever travel to Okinawa to see UNESCO World Heritage Sites don't miss this one.

This stone gate could insure you safe return.

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