Shikina Royal Garden
The Shikina Garden dates to the end of the 18th century and the Ryukyu Kingdom. A UNESCO registered World Heritage site located in Naha City, Okinawa, the gardens are a located on large grounds with a multitude of historic buildings, views, memorials, and sights. I was lucky enough to be introduced to this less known historic landmark during my Golden Week trip to Naha.
The grounds are the site of the largest second residence of the Ryukyu royal family. There are several buildings comprising the Udun Palace, outlying buildings, gates, springs, bridges, flowers, and other interesting views. The many paths wander through ancient trees and the garden’s elevation provides views of much of Okinawa. One outlook in particular is one of the few places where the Ocean cannot be seen. It is said that Chinese envoys were entertained at the palace and shown the view so that they could see Okinawa as a large kingdom.
In addition to the ancient history, there are also entrances to tunnels used by Japanese soldiers during WWII. Due to the war, the grounds were destroyed, but was restored between 1975 and 1995. Now the Garden is open throughout the year excepting Wednesdays.
From April to September it is open 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
From October to March the garden closes at 5:00 p.m.
More on Shikina
There are many things to see in Shikina. If nothing else it is a relaxing place to stroll with many flowers and tall interesting trees. Here are a few of the other sights to see.
In addition to the entrance, there are two traditional gates, the Sei-mon and the Tsuyo-mon. Both are in the Yajo style. The Sei-mon gate is the larger main gate and was used exclusively by Royalty and visiting dignitaries.
This spring is just past the path from the Sei-mon gate. It has two monuments the Ikutoku-sen-hi on the right and kanreien-rei-hi on the left. Both are restorations after being destroyed during the war.
Udun Palace will have its own post. Check it out this Friday!
Ish Bashi Stone Bridge
There are two stone bridges connecting to one of the small islands in the pond. They are both in a Chinese style.
There is a small hexagonal rest house built on a small island pond. It has a black tiled roof and is reached by a bridge made from a single block of stone.
This area is at the far end of the grounds from the current entrance. There a gazebo overlooks Okinawa island. Nearby there is the entrance to an old WWII era tunnel that used to house a hosipital. There is also a monument.
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