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Chinese-style bridges in Shikina-en

The gardens of Shikina-en (識名園) are located on a small hill to the south of Shuri Castle in Naha, Okinawa.[1] The residence and its gardens are also known as Shichina-nu-Udun (シチナヌウドゥン) or Southern Gardens (南苑), as opposed to the Eastern Gardens (東苑) or Uchayaudun (御茶屋御殿), laid out on a small hill east of Shuri Castle in 1677.[2] In 1992 Hiroshi Shō, the great-grandson of Shō Tai, the last king of the Ryūkyū Kingdom, donated the royal mausoleum of Tamaudun and Shikina-en to the City of Naha.


The stroll garden features a pond with two small islands; a Chinese-style hexagonal pavilion; other pavilions with red tiles, the use of which was reserved for the upper classes; Chinese-style arched bridges; and seasonal plantings of plum, wisteria, and bellflower.[2][3] This blend of Japanese and Chinese design and features has been acclaimed as "uniquely Ryukyuan" by UNESCO and advisory body ICOMOS.[3][4]


The gardens were laid out in 1799 to embellish one of the residences of the Shō family, rulers of the Ryūkyū Kingdom; they were used for the reception of an envoy from China the following year.[5][6] First designated for protection in 1941 in accordance with the 1919 Law, they were completely destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa.[5] Restoration began in 1975 and took around twenty years, at a cost of some eight hundred million yen.[5] In 1976 the gardens were once again designated a Place of Scenic Beauty; in 2000 they were re-designated a Special Place of Scenic Beauty and included within the inscription of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.[5][4][7] The gardens stretch over an area of 4.2 ha and the UNESCO nomination includes a buffer zone of a further 84.2 ha.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Japanese Garden Dictionary: Shikinaen". Nara National Research Institute for Cultural Properties. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "{title}" 識名園~世界遺産・特別名勝「識名園」の概要~ [Summary of Shikina-en, World Heritage Site and Special Place of Scenic Beauty] (in Japanese). Naha City. Archived from the original on 2009-05-05. Retrieved 3 June 2012. 
  3. ^ a b "Ryukyu sites (Japan) No.972" (PDF). ICOMOS. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu". UNESCO. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Introduction of Shikina-en". Naha City. Retrieved 2 June 2012. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ "{title}" 識名園 [Shikina-en] (in Japanese). Okinawa Prefecture. Archived from the original on 2011-02-04. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  7. ^ 識名園 [Shikina-en] (in Japanese). Agency for Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "Map Indicating the Location of the Nominated Property". UNESCO. Retrieved 2 June 2012. 

Coordinates: 26°12′16″N 127°42′55″E / 26.20444°N 127.71528°E / 26.20444; 127.71528


  • Mansfield, Stephen (2011). Japan's Master Gardens - Lessons in Space and Environment (Hardback). Tokyo, Rutland, Singapore: Tuttle. ISBN 978-4-8053-1128-8. 

External links[edit]