Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Strongholds of the Samurai: Japanese Castles 250-1877 Imjin War book cover

Shuri Castle

Shuri Castle is classified as a hilltop castle, and is located in Okinawa Prefecture It is associated with the Shō clan. Dates in use: 14C - 1871.

A truly stunning reconstruction using traditional methods. It once served as the Ryukyu King's residence & as the centre of politics for many hundreds of years. It achieved World Heritage listing in 2000 & is a symbol of Okinawa.


14C/15C The castle was built, the date of which is unclear.
1453 A major fire damaged the castle.
1627 The Southern Palace was built.
1609 The Shimazu clan of southern Kyūshū invade and seize control.
1660 A major fire damaged the castle.
1671 The castle was reconstructed.
1709 A major fire damaged the castle.
1712 The castle was reconstructed over the following 3 years.
1879 The Ryūkyū Kingdom was abolished.
1958 The Shurei Gate was rebuilt.
1974 The Kankai Gate was rebuilt.
1992 The castle was reconstructed to as it looked in 1715.
2000 Designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Okinawa's other significant Gusuku sites.

Historical recognition

SiteNational Historic Site
SiteUNESCO World Heritage Site