Udun Palace – Okinawa
Last Wednesday I took you on a virtual tour around the Shikina Royal Gardens in Naha. You might have noticed a glaring omission, there were almost no buildings among the pictures. Though the gardens are beautiful and expansive, the main attraction of Shikina is the pond-side Udun Palace. The palace is an expansive building built as a second home for the Ryukyu Royal Family.
The building was also used to house visiting dignitaries from China who came for the crowning of new kings.
There are also several outlying buildings including:
- The Kago house – A small building used to house the paladin carriers.
- The Banya – A guard-house near the main entrance
- The Rokkaku-do – A six-sided enclosed gazebo on a nearby island
The Kitchen includes a large slab of wood for cutting and preparing food as well as a large stove. Wood would be placed in the bottom and then large metal woks for soup, rice, or frying.
The toilets were traditional Okinawan style. Underneath were stone troughs that led to pig pens. Pigs were specifically bred to dispose of the waste. For more on this aspect of Japanese Culture, you might want to read this.
The palace interior is spacious with tatami mat floors and interior opening for plants and gardens. The overall style of the house was limited to the aristocracy with the red clay tiles common to Okinawan roofing.
Udun is a recreation since it was destroyed during World War II. In the eastern wall there is an area where you can see the original stone meet with the modern restoration.
If you are planning on visiting, you can get an English Language guide map at the entrance to Shikina Gardens that will walk you through the grounds. You can also visit the interior of Udun place, but make sure you remove your shoes before entering. There are large stone steps around the wooden veranda. You can step up on the stone, and remove your shoes. Leave them on the step and go through the Palace. You’ll want to enter from the side facing the lake.