As an enduring symbol of the Ryukyu Kingdom of the past, Shurijo Castle is one of Okinawa's must-see locations. Almost completely destroyed by the war, its restoration in 1992 realized a long-cherished dream of the Okinawan people.
According to Travel + Leisure magazine, castles are popular tourist destinations. In T+L's recent article on the world's 20 most visited castles (Dec. 22, 2014), locations such as Windsor Castle in England and Romania's Bran Castle (“Castle Dracula”) are popular; however, Bran Castle did not make the list at 542,000 visitors, while Windsor Castle topped off at 750,000 – putting it in 19th place.
With an impressive 1,753,000 annual visitors, Shurijo Castle made it to the top 10. What's more, updated data for fiscal year 2014 put the actual visitor count at a record-setting 2,522,395.
Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000, Shurijo Castle is not only a place of great historical significance but also host to many cultural events that are well worth experiencing by locals and visitors alike.
An annual passport is a great deal for people planning to visit more than twice per calendar year.
1-2 Kinjo-cho, Shuri, Naha City Tel: 098-886-2020 Hours for paid area: April-June 8:30-19:00; July-September 8:30-20:00; October-November 8:30-19:00; December-March 8:30-18:00 Hours for free area: April-June 8:00-19:30; July-September 8:00-20:30; October-November 8:00-19:30; December-March 8:00-18:30 Open daily *The paid area is closed on the 1st Wednesday and the following day of July. Admission: 800 yen for adults, 600 yen for ages 16-18, 300 yen for ages 6-15, free for under 6. Annual passport: 1,600 yen for adults, 1,200 yen for ages 16-18, 600 yen for ages 6-15.