Thursday, July 24, 2014
Photo Tour of Chinen Castle Ruins in Okinawa
Today we breezed through a couple of the outer islands and decided to revisit Okinawa.
It's been a few years since Goya Republic Dude and, I explored Chinen (Castle) Gusuku.
The place was destroyed during the War of the Pacific and, is still under construction.
This is the only castle ruins, I know of, that requires a downhill walk from the parking area.
Signs, in English and Japanese, guide you along the way.
And, everything is free.
The photographer in photo #1 is shooting the external walls of the castle.
This is a view from the inside.
There are construction materials, warning signs and a fence behind me.
The Pacific Ocean is back there below the cliffs, too.
There was a hole in the fence so, I went through, to get closer.
At the end of the pavement, outside the castle, this sign appears, to your right.
Hearing that the first rice, planted on the island was below the castle, I wanted to see the sight.
Somehow, I figured it was a long way from the castle.
But, Goya Republic Dude, had been there on a tour, in the past.
And, he said it was just a few minutes walk from these signs.
It was hot, out in the sun and the trail leading towards the original rice fields, was in the shade.
So, we went flip-flopping down the hill.
There we found the Chinen Spring and three little rice paddies, like this.
Most people probably, wouldn't be impressed.
But, I got the first place rice was ever planted in Okinawa off my checklist, now.
So, I'm happy, it's done. And, we got the heck out of there.
The gusuku (castles) in the Ryukyu islands have some common features.
There are,usually wells or springs and sacred sites within the walls or nearby, on the outside.
We found the Noro's (priestess) dwelling outside this one, but, I didn't take a photo.
It looks like it could use some help getting re-constructed.
But, I will return to his fortress again and again because, I want to learn more about it.
It is one of the oldest, out of 192 Gusuku Sites located by Okinawan archeologists.
The Ryukyu King and Supreme Priestess (Kikoe Ogimi) made pilgrimages here.
A sacred grove dedicated to the god of fire (Hinukan) was located at this site.
On May 15, 1972 this castle was designated a National Historic Site.
The Goddess Amamikyo or, Amami-kyu, brought the first rice to this location.
She and a male deity, Shineri-kyu, lived in separate homes.
They never had sex. Somehow, the wind made her pregnant. Three times.
And, that's how Ryukyu Kings and Priestesses came along.
Someone in the travel and tourism industry, should recognize this fortress.
It could become a goldmine.
The place has historical, religious, cultural and architectural significance.
Put it all together and visitors will come.
Wouldn't you think ?
Okinawa The History of an Island People ISBN 978-0-8048-2087-5 (P36)