It is a world heritage site, the palace of ancient Ryūkyū Kingdom.
The current palace is rebuild by Japanese after its occupation, and its interior is changed to Japanese style. The original style is like the Chinese palace.
Visit the war memorial honoring the 12,500 Americans and 244,000 Japanese that gave their lives during WWII. Stop to see the cliffs where many Japanese chose death rather than defeat by the American soldiers.
Shuri-castle is without doubt the main tourist-attraction of Okinawa and Naha. The exacte age of the Shuri palace is unknown but it is known as the Royal Court of the Ryukyus Kingdom since the early 15th century. The palace burned down several times but had always been restored. In WWII the japanese army had its headquarter under that palace and so it was totally destroyed by american troops. In 1992 it was reconstructed again.
Shureimon-gate or Shurei-mon gate used to be the second outer gate of Shuri castle and the meaning of its name is "Gate of Propriety". Dating back to 1527 it had been built in the tradition of chinese turret gates.The gate is 7,05 meters high and 7,94 meters wide. Shureimon-gate also burned down in WW II and was completely reconstructed in 1958.
This is the Profile of Seiden :The Main Hall of Shuri Palace and there you will see the throne of the Royal empire of the Ryukyus Kingdom. The throne, like the rest of the building, is a replica that was reconstructed in 1992 and this is also the reason why everything looks almost like brand new.
Dont miss to take a walk through the fish-market, that you will find inside the large, covered Makishi-market. You will see a lot of interesting exotic fishes and according to my own experience tourists are always welcome there to take photos, ask questions or simply take a look around, even when you dont intend to buy anything ! The sales-people will mostly speak no english at all, but will be friendly and smiling !
This is the crown of the Ryukyu Kingdom and it is called Hibenkan or Taman Chabui and it was made of silk crepe and decorated with gold, silver, crystal, jasper, corals and glass. The crown that you see in the Shuri-palace is a replica made of synthetic materials and 1,2 times larger than the original.
You can take a walk along the castle walls of Shuri castle instead of walking the modern street from the station of the Monorail to the Shuri palace. That way you will see a lot more of the giant fortification of the old city that included the shuri palace. There are only a very few gates to enter the old town.
For handicapped people it is the best to take the official main-entrance that has almost no steps at all and inside the Shuri-palace you will even find lifts for wheelchairs at most stairs.
Quite different indeed from the castles on the mainland is Shuri Castle. Not surprising of course given the separate history of the Ryukyus.
It was used for a banquet at a G8 summit some years back.
Well worth a visit. Admission is 800 yen but it is possible to get a discount with a monorail day pass.
Well, I just returned from my trip to Okinawa. And Naha is nothing special. There are interesting things to do as: 1) Visit Shuri Castle, 2) If you want to stroll by a busy street and buy souvenirs, go to Kokusai dori, 3) Visit the Makishi Market and in the second floor have lunch there (fresh, cheap and clean). You can do it in one day. So you do not need to spend more than one night one day in Naha. A small city, poluted, and noisy. That's it. Try to head for the north of Okinawa it is better, and has superb landscapes.
When I arrived at Shurijo I could feel its strenght and high walls. A real fortress.
Its beautiful architecture with gold and red at inner side reflects the royal residence atmosphere of the Ryukyu King.
While you are in Japan you might as well take this opportunity to get a Japanese tattoo,the advantage of getting tattooed in Okinawa is you can get an awesome tattoo by professional artists for slightly cheaper than Tokyo.And what a great souvenir for yourself.Tattoos in Japan are of the highest and cleanest quality.
The lovely and bright castle and park grounds is situated on a hillside which overlooks the city of Naha.
There is a bit of a hike up winding stone steps, though there is also a barrier-free side entry slope.
This particular building, as well as other structures on the grounds are recent restorations, as many buildings were lost to several fires throughout its 600+ years of history.
Visit the Shuri Castle park to see what's left after World War II. Very beautiful, very interesting.