Katsuren Castle

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Katsuren Castle
Uruma, Okinawa
Katsuren Castle ruins.jpg
Ruins of Katsuren Castle
Type Gusuku
Site information
Controlled by Aji of Katsuren (13th century-1314)
Chūzan (1314-1429)
Ryūkyū Kingdom (1429-1879)
 Empire of Japan (1879–1945)
Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svg United States Military Government of the Ryukyu Islands(1945-1950)
Flag of the United States (1912-1959).svgUnited States Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands(1950-1972)
Open to
the public
Condition ruins
Site history
Built 13th-14th century
Built by Aji of Katsuren Magiri
In use 13th century-1611
Materials Ryukyuan limestone, wood
Battles/wars Attacked by Uni-Ufugusuku (1458)
Garrison information
Occupants Aji of Katsuren Magiri, Amawari

Katsuren Castle (勝連城, Katsuren jō, Okinawan: Kacchin Gushiku) is a Ryukyuan gusuku in Uruma, Okinawa. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[1]


Katsuren Castle was built on a large hill of Ryukyuan limestone,[2] 98 meters (322 ft) above sea level on the Katsuren Peninsula. With the Pacific Ocean on two sides, it is also called the "Ocean Gusuku". Its "golden age" was in the mid-15th century, under the powerful Aji of Katsuren, Amawari.[1] The castle was destroyed in 1458 by the Ryukyuan army. Precious tile and Chinese porcelain of the era have been excavated from Katsuren. Such remains testify to the magnificence of the ancient structure and the robust entrepôt trade between Japan, Korea, China, and Southeast Asia.[2] The castle also has an active shrine of the Ryukyuan religion within the first bailey dedicated to Kobazukasa.[3] In the 2010 Okinawa earthquake an outer wall at the northeast of the third bailey of Katsuren Castle was damaged.[4]

Katsuren Castle was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 as part of one of the nine Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.[3] Katsuren Castle was designated a Designated Historical Monument (史跡, Shiseki) by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1972.[5]

In 2016, both ancient Roman currency and medieval Ottoman currency were excavated there. This was the first time that Roman coins were excavated in Japan.[6][7]


Katsuren Castle can be reached from the Naha Bus Terminal at Naha Airport via the Number 52 bus route, a ride of 1 hour and 20 minutes from the bus terminal. The castle is a five-minute walk from the Katsuren Danchimae (勝連団地前, Katsuren Danchi-mae) stop. The castle site can also be reached by the Okinawa Expressway via the Okinawa Minami IC.[8]


  • Motoo, Hinago (1986). Japanese Castles. Tokyo: Kodansha. p. 200 pages. ISBN 0-87011-766-1. 
  1. ^ a b "Katsuren-jō". Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (日本大百科全書(ニッポニカ) “Large Encyclopedia of Japan (Nipponika)”) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  2. ^ a b "Katsuren-gusuku". Nihon Rekishi Chimei Taikei (日本歴史地名大系 "Compendium of Japanese Historical Place Names") (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Archived from the original on 2007-08-25. Retrieved 2012-03-25. 
  3. ^ a b http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/972
  4. ^ 沖縄本島近海地震世界遺産の城壁が一部崩落勝連城跡(in Japanese)
  5. ^ 勝連城跡・文部科学省文化庁(in Japanese)
  6. ^ http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2016/09/26/national/history/ancient-roman-coins-unearthed-castle-ruins-okinawa/
  7. ^ http://edition.cnn.com/2016/09/27/luxury/ancient-roman-coins-japan/
  8. ^ http://www.japan-guide.com/e/e7123.html

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 26°19′48″N 127°52′43″E / 26.33000°N 127.87861°E / 26.33000; 127.87861