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Katsuren Castle
Uruma, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan
Ruins of Katsuren Gusuku
Type Mountain castle (山城?)
Coordinates Latitude: 26.331653
Longitude: 127.878971
Built 13th-14th century
Built by Amawari
Demolished 1458
Open to
the public

Katsuren Castle (勝連城 Katsuren-gusuku?), also Katsuren-jō, was a gusuku (Okinawan castle) in Uruma, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. In the Okinawan language the castle is known as Kacchin Gusuku.[1]


Katsuren Castle was built on a large hill of Ryukyuan limestone,[2] 98 meters (322 ft) above sea level on the Katsuren Peninsula. With the Pacific Ocean on two sides, it is also called the "Ocean Gusuku". Its "golden age" was in the mid-15th century, under the powerful aji lord of Katsuren, Amawari.[1] Precious tile and Chinese porcelain of the era have been excavated from Katsuren. Such remains testify to the magnificence of the ancient structure and the robust entrepôt trade between Japan, Korea, China, and Southeast Asia.[2] The castle also has an active shrine of the Ryukyuan religion within the first bailey dedicated to Kobazukasa.[3] In the 2010 Okinawa Earthquake an outer wall at the northeast of the third bailey of Katsuren Castle was damaged.[4]

Cultural designations

Katsuren Castle was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 as part of one of the nine Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.[3] Katsuren Castle was designated an Designated Historical Monument (史跡 Shiseki?) by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1972.[5]


View of Katsuren Castle remains

Katsuren Castle can be reached from the Naha Bus Terminal at Naha Airport via the Number 52 bus route, a ride of 1 hour and 20 minutes from the bus terminal. The castle is a five minute walk from the Katsuren Danchimae (勝連団地前 Katsuren Danchi-mae?) stop. The castle site can also be reached by the Okinawa Expressway via the Okinawa Minami IC.[6]


  • Motoo, Hinago (1986). Japanese Castles. Tokyo: Kodansha. p. 200 pages. ISBN 0-87011-766-1. 
  1. 1.0 1.1 "Katsuren-jō". Nihon Daihyakka Zensho (Nipponika) (日本大百科全書(ニッポニカ) “Large Encyclopedia of Japan (Nipponika)”). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-25. (Japanese)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Katsuren-gusuku". Nihon Rekishi Chimei Taikei (日本歴史地名大系 "Compendium of Japanese Historical Place Names"). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-25. (Japanese)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu
  4. 沖縄本島近海地震世界遺産の城壁が一部崩落勝連城跡(Japanese)
  5. 勝連城跡・文部科学省文化庁(Japanese)

External links

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