Hi everyone! This is Carl’s wife, Emily. I was in Okinawa for six days visiting Carl and getting MARRIED! Today, I’m going to write about the last day I was there, Wednesday, March 15th. It was a gorgeous day out, sunny and warm. We decided we wanted to go see the Shurijo Castle, home to the Ryukyu Kingdom. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was blown away when we first entered the castle. The first thing we saw was the actual Shurijo Castle Seiden (picture 1). This building was the main structure for the Ryukyu Kingdom for over five hundred years. The castle was restored in 1992 based off of pictures and references. To enter the castle, everyone must take their shoes off as a sign of respect. There is an $8 entry fee to get in, which I thought was a great price to see so much history. We walked through the Bandokoro, which was where visitors to the castle would send messages to the king. The Bandokoro led right into Nanden, which was used as an entertainment area for the officials of the kingdom. Now, these two buildings are used to showcase artifacts and artwork. Next was Okushoin, a smaller building where the king rested. Connected to Okushoin, is Kugani-udun, a private place for the king and his family. Inside all of these complexes were prayer mats for visitors and officials. My favorite part of the castle was inside the Seiden. We got to see a restored throne of King Sho Shin, who was the king from 1477-1526. His throne was facing the garden so he could watch his officials during the New Year ceremonies. The colors in this room were incredible. Vibrant reds, golds, and hints of black made the feeling of royalty stand out. Inside the Seiden, several ceremonies and celebrations took place. The ceilings were built high to make the room feel more formal. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the buildings, so there is another reason to go visit it!
It was a great experience to see the castle and how structured the Ryukyu Kingdom was. In all, it took us about an hour to walk through each building and look around at the artifacts. I would recommend this trip to anyone who visits Okinawa. Not only does it take a short amount a time, you will also learn so much about the kingdom and structures of the castle.
After the castle, it was time for our wedding pictures! We met up with the photographer at the Gala. There was a gorgeous red Japanese structure sitting right on the beach. I couldn’t have picked a prettier spot to have our pictures done. We will post a couple of pictures once we get them back.
For dinner that night, we went to Chatan Brewery. Carl ordered a seafood mixture that was sitting in a broth. It had clams, mussels, octopus, a full fish (head included), and a few other things. I had sautéed shrimp with caviar on top. We each tried a different Chatan beer. I would recommend this place for a fine dining option. It was a little pricy, but the food was definitely worth it.