The day after visiting the Shuri Castle, we asked the kids where they wanted to explore, and Kennedy wanted to see another castle, so that’s just what we did! As it turns out, this castle is quite famous also. It is also considered a Historic Heritage site like Shuri Castle. Come to find out, they had turned the history of this castle into one of the most classic Okinawan theater stories. Kumiodori is the story of two lords, Gosamaru and Amawari. Amawari was the lord of the Katsuren Castle. Gosamaru was a popular and talented castle builder in his time. He was ordered by the king to move to the central part of the island where he built Nakagusuku Castle. We have driven past the sign to this castle, and it is definitely on our growing list of things to do, and places to see!
Amawari, the lord of Katsuren Castle lived nearby. He was ambitious and desirous of the throne of the Shuri King, Sho Taikyu. However, we needed to gain more power. The Katsuren Castle is on the Katsuren Peninsula, which juts out into the Pacific, and allowed him excellent opportunity for the foreign trade. Amawari took full advantage of this to live a lavish lifestyle. The view from the castle is awesome! The king gave his daughter to Amawari in marriage, and then moved Gosamaru to watch out for the Nakagusuku castle. Amawari was growing in power, and tricked the king into thinking is faithful follower Prince Gosamaru had turned against him. Amawari stormed the Nakagusuku Castle, and attacked and destroyed the enemy prince.
While Amawari was on a winning streak, he decided to attack Shuri Castle, but lost! He failed terribly, and that was the end of Amawari and his castle! At the castle site, there was a small visitor center that had several pieces of remains that had been found in the castle. There were a lot of pieces of gorgeous blue and white porcelain from China, fancy gold coins, and several types of jeweled metal swords. Much of which were imports. Amawari wanted to have the best in everything!
After we left the visitor center, it started to drizzle a little bit. Umbrellas are a must have in Okinawa. The locals carry them around all the time to help keep the sun off of them, and they always come in handy when it starts to rain! The rain didn’t last long, and we were off to explore the lush scenery of the Katsuren Castle.
The castle had 3 separate levels that we were able to explore, as we read about the castle and tried to imagine what it would have looked like. It was interesting to see this castle right after visiting Shuri Castle the day before. After all, Shuri Castle crushed it! I think Amawari deserved it, he seemed a bit cocky and extravagant!
The kids thought this cave/ memorial site was neat, and wanted to explore inside. I declined! It gave us a chance to explain to the kids that these grounds are reverenced by the Japanese.
As you can see, the sky rotated between blinding sun, or grey overcast sky. It was quite interesting. Don’t worry, we later returned home to realize that a typhoon was due to hit Kadena AFB directly. Luckily the typhoon hit several miles north of us that night, so we didn’t see quite the level of destruction that was anticipated! We did however loose several trees.
Any time Nathan can climb a castle wall, he is a very happy and dirty little guy!