A journey to Ryukyu Kingdom by tracing the genesis myths and the history

PHOTO:Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Shurijo Castle Park)

Okinawa, the wonder island that attracts many people with its magical powers.
It once formed a kingdom called “The Ryukyu”, and sustained its glory for 450 years.
There are numerous myths that were told on this island, and many of those sacred places are still preserved well to the current days.
Once you merge into the historical culture of Dynasty period that still remains clearly, it is the beginning of a magnificent travel story full of romance.

ROUTE

A historical journey to see Okinawa’s World Heritage and the sacred places

It is a recommended model course to discover the history of Okinawa, centered on the Ryukyu Dynasty that lasted for 450 years, from 1429 to 1879.
Among the nine places of world heritage registered in December 2000, you will be visiting places starting from Shuri Castle, Sonohyan-utaki, Tamaudun, and Shikina-en in Naha city area, and Sefa-utagi in the southern area. All of them are unique cultural heritages that were created between the 14th century (when the Ryukyu began to unify) to the end of 18th century when the Kingdom was established. By visiting these places, you can learn the origins and the rise and fall of the Ryukyu Kingdom.
On the second day, you will be able to experience a glimpse of the spiritual aspect from the Ryukyu genesis myths and spiritual culture that developed in an independent island-country by visiting Kudaka Island also known as the “God’s Island”, on the following day to “Okinawa World” and “Valley of Gangala”, and then on the fourth day to visit “Karate Kaikan” to end the journey.

DAY1

World Heritage in vermilion invites you to see the ancient Ryukyu Kingdom

PHOTO:Okinawa Commemorative National Government Park (Shurijo Castle Park)

Majestic appearance of “Shuri Castle” conveys the Ryukyu Kingdom’s glory to now.
Standing in the middle of this place filled with superb dynasty culture, suddenly I felt as if I was lost in the Ryukyu period. Palace cuisine, awamori, glittering Ryukyu dance… to entertain foreign visitors.
Let us travel back to the far away Ryukyu Kingdom by discovering the story of the people who lived in this era.

DAY2

Retrace the legend of Ryukyu beginning, to the Holy God’s Island

Next, I visited the most sacred place of the Ryukyu Kingdom “Sefa-utagi” where associated with the legend of Ryukyu beginning, and God’s Island the “Kudaka Island”.
According to this legend, this location was not yet formed as an island but only were desolated seas and rocks. One day, Amamikiyo, a goddess came down from the world of Nirai Kanai and created islands and utagi.
It has been worshiped as a place where a God descended and people have devoted to give prayers at these holy grounds.
Probably an invisible strange power exists in this place.

DAY3

Time travelling from Dynastic period to Ancient times

First, I stopped at “Okinawa World”, a theme park in the southern area of Okinawa Main Island.
After fully experienced the life of castle town of Ryukyu Dynasty period, I then went on to the mysterious valley that leads to the ancient world.
Hundreds of thousands of years ago, the ceiling of the limestone cave collapsed and the sunlight shined the cave of once was only filled with darkness.
This extraordinary space was created from tremendous period of time and the nature itself.
A forest with many souls dwell, it seemed like the footprints of ancient people who were a part of this place have left many messages all over the forest to convey the energy of life to this era.

DAY4

Spirit of “Shurei no Kuni”*, knowing from the essence of Okinawan karate

Ryukyu Kingdom have worshiped peace, respected propriety, strengthened cultural and trade exchanges with neighboring countries such as China, Japan and Southeast Asia.
A martial arts Karate also known as “Heiwa no Bu” was born within those spirits and developed under the influence of unique history and climate. Not to mention the warm climate, but also the spirit of “Shurei no Kuni”* which has been passed down for generations that warms the hearts of travelers.
Attracted by the sound of sanshin coming from somewhere, let’s continue to enjoy the story of journey for a while.

* The words “Shurei no Kuni” (meaning “Ryukyu Kingdom is a land of propriety”) is inscribed on the second gate of Shuri Castle. It expresses the Ryukyu nature of respecting propriety.