Tuesday, September 09, 2008

world heritage sites

In Japan, there are several areas that have been deemed UNESCO World Heritage sites. On mainland Okinawa, there are 9 areas. Most of them are gusuku (castle in Okinawan) ruins. Castles are also called "jo" or "shiro" in Japanese.

On past trips to Okinawa, we were able to visit 3 of the 9 sites(Katsuren castle ruins, Shuri Castle & Nakijin castle ruins). On this trip, we visited the remaining 6 sites.

Sonohyan-utaki-ishimon (located on the grounds outside of Shuri castle) everything except the door is made from Ryukyu limestone, the roof a top the door had sparkling Chinese jewels embedded in it.

Tama-u-dun downhill from the grounds of Shuri castle, was built in 1501 to re-entomb the remains of King Sho and his decendants. The site is 2442 square meters.

Shikinaen was the largest second residence of the Ryukyu royal family and was used to entertain Royal family members and foreign guests.

Sefa-utaki was regarded as an extremely sacred place and had strong ties with the official religious organization established by the Ryukyu Kingdom. Sefa means holding divine power. Utaki means sacred place. The limestone stairs were really worn and slippery. (Instead of sliding up and down the stairs, I was the only female to take off my shoes and walk barefooted--you will almost never see Japanese women do this)

Nakagusuku-jo ato-According to the guide brochure, you can see three types of stone layering at this castle ruin. The remains of this castle were really large (about 112, 399 square meters). There were archaelogical crews working to find more artifacts while we visited.

Zakimi-jo ato-this castle ruin was made of mostly coral and considered one of the most beautiful within Okinawa. The arched gateway is considered to be one of the oldest in Okinawa.

It was great to be able to see all of these World Heritage Sites. Are there any World Heritage Sites where you live? have you visited them or others around the world?

15 comments:

KirkK said...

Hey Kat - Wonderful photos. I can't wait to see what else you have in store.

K and S said...

Thanks Kirkk :) I hope I don't disappoint you.

Take care.
Kat

OkiHwn said...

Very nice pics Kat!

K and S said...

Thanks Nate :)

Take care.
Kat

Phoebe said...

WOW! Isn't that gorgeous? I love looking at ruins or sacred places that have a history heritage attached to it.

haha I am not sure if NZ has any world heritage sites but the most lively tourist attractions would be the Maori villages and cultural sites.

K and S said...

Thanks Phoebe, I looked at the list and NZ does have some world heritage sites, you should check them out :)

Take care.
Kat

Rowena said...

I can imagine you walking barefooted and can only think, "Way to go Hawaii girl!" I would have done the same...much safer on the footing instead of falling down on your rear!

K and S said...

Thanks Rowena, it brought back memories of running barefoot for track and field and also made me remember how much grip you can get from going barefoot. :)

Take care.
Kat

Heather said...

In July we visited St. Augustin church while we were in Manila. It's the first UNESCO site I'd visited.

K and S said...

That is great Heather, I hope to visit more UNESCO sites outside of Japan :)

Take care.
Kat

ila said...

nice pix! i love the japanese country side... it seems that every little village has a hidden castle ruin, although this one is definitely unesco-worthy.
when i was a kid, my town had a castle ruin behind the elementary school, and we used to play hide and go seek there.

Lori said...

I think these are UNESCO sites - we've been to Himeji Castle, Hiroshima A-Bomb Dome, Itsukushima Shrine, and some of those temples in Nara.

I also want to see more UNESCO sites! :)

K and S said...

That is so cool that you had a castle to play in, Ila!

Yes, I think these are UNESCO sites, Lori, I hope you get to see more too :)

Take care you two.
Kat

Heather said...

Actually I looked at the list after I commented and I've visited 21! I was shocked!

K and S said...

Wow Heather, that is a LOT! Amazing.

Take care.
Kat