Nakijin Castle was most likely built in the early 14th century and served as the administrative center for the kingdom of Hokuzan, which controlled the northern part of mainland Okinawa during the Sanzan Period. It is roughly twice the size of Nakagusuku Castle, and almost the same size as Shuri Castle.
Nakijin Castle was the home of three generations of rulers until it was attacked by Chuzan in 1416. The kingdom fell, but the royal government appointed groups of people, called “Wardens of the North”, to protect the castle, and they did so until 1665 when the system was abolished and Nakijin Castle was left in ruins. There are still remains of many of the wards and grounds that were important to the kingdom, even though how they were used isn’t exactly clear.
Today Nakijin Castle is mostly famous for its beautiful view over the South China Sea and it is also one of the first places in Japan where you can experience the sakura cherry blossom each year, sometimes as early as in mid-January. It is also a part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.
The easiest way to get to Nakijin Castle by car is to take route 58 north to the northern part of Nago City, and then turn left and continue on route 505. After following the road for a while the entrance will be on your left side. If you are taking the bus, get on high way bus 111 from Naha Bus Terminal to Nago Bus Terminal and change to bus 66. Get off at “Nakijin Joseki”. Pictures: © Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau
Nakijin Castle 今帰仁城（なきじんじょう）
Sanzan Period 三山時代（さんざんじだい）
Nago City 名護市（なごし）
Nakijin Joseki 今帰仁城跡（なきじんじょうせき）
Key phrases to show taxi drivers:
How much is it to Nakijin Castle? 今帰仁城跡までいくらですか？
How long time does it take to Nakijin Castle? 今帰仁城跡までどのぐらいの時間がかかりますか？