Are you eager to try the restaurant from our last post, but don’t want to drive all-the-way-to-Nago “just” for that? Are you looking for something to do around Nago that doesn’t involve pineapples, citrus fruits, or fish tanks? Then read on, because hiking around Nakijin Castle Ruins and its related Museum is definitely worth the trip!

The adventure begins at the visitor’s center, part of a little cultural strip mall type place across the street from the actual castle, where you can buy souvenirs, food, local hand crafts and of course entrance tickets. While I didn’t get a picture of the visitors center, here’s one of a cool little booth outside the main castle gate:


Stepping through the main gate feels like stepping back in time. I envisioned a royal procession walking down the loooooong paved pathway lined with cherry trees (this is what they look like when they are not in bloom but imagine them bursting with color):


Be prepared for a visual feast, because the ruins sit atop a mountain over-looking the ocean on one side:


…and beautiful mountains on the other. The walls reminded me of the Great Wall of China. (Okay, they reallyreminded me of the scene from Mulan when the Huns attack. I was expecting Shan Yu to show up any moment!)


Across the street from the castle is a hands-on museum.


This Shishi is guarding the goods. 🙂


I say hands-on because many of the artifacts, like the excavated pots below, are just sitting out in the open. This is great for some people, but a potential nightmare if you have “investigative” little ones, or are gracefully-challenged. I can’t tell you how many of these things I knocked into…


More artifacts on display:


Another unique room has a time-line which runs around the walls, with corresponding piles of papers/documents for each year. There are tables in the middle of the room, where patrons can examine any of the documents.


February is a great month to visit the castle and museum. To prove the old adage that Great Minds Think Alike, Bill Charles features this very place in this week’s issue of Japan update:

The tempo picks up this weekend at Nakijin Castle, the second largest castle on Okinawa, where the Cherry Blossom Festival began last Friday. It runs through February 8th. As with Nago Castle, the view from Nakijin, which is on the World Heritage Register, is breathtaking with the contrasts of the castle ruins, cherry blossoms, the lush green forest and the view of the East China Sea.

Nakijin’s festivities Saturday include Ryukyu classical music and dance, rolling on into Eisaa and traditional Okinawa dance, drum dances and choral music through February 8th. Organizers are offering free cherry tea throughout the festival.”

Thanks, Bill, I couldn’t have said it better myself!

Nakijin Castle

Phone:  81-980-56-4400

Adults —–100yen
Hours: 8:30-7:30

Address: 5101 Imadomari, Nakijin, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture 905-0428, Japan

GPS Coordinates: 26.6925186, 127.92807170000003

Directions: 58 North thru Nago to 84. You’ll see signs for other routes to Nakijin and the castle, but the easiest (perhaps not fastest… er, is “fastest” a word?…) is to stay on 84, and just before Ocean Expo turn right on Highway 449 – you’re only two kilometers away. Follow the signs from there.


  1. I just went here Friday with my Husband and have to say the place is beautiful and definitely photo worthy. Like the person before mentioned the cost for admission has gone up to 400 yen for adults and 300 yen for high school o younger, children not in elementary school yet are free.

  2. I went to this castle for the second time today. It is one of my favorites and a must-see on a trip to Nago. During Cherry Blossom season, it is gorgeous. I would like to note that the price is 400 Yen per adult, though.

  3. FYI…yes you can turn left on 449 from 58 and take that all the way to the ruins, instead of going on 84. Where 449 ad 84 intersect is the Motobu Resort and the place you turn to get to Pizza in the Sky (well very close to that intersection) so in other words, you do not have to turn on 84 and then again on 449, you can turn on 449 from 58 and follow signs.

  4. Oh Dasha! This is such a treat. I loved visiting Nakijin when I was there and am SO excited to see the photos! I took tons of photos at the castle, including some of gorgeous cats, but I only took one photo inside the museum before someone very politely pointed to a sign and asked me not to take photos; it was the only time I was denied access the whole time I was on the island. It is pure pleasure not to have to depend on my memories of the inside of the museum. Thank you, thank you! I thoroughly enjoy reading every day about all of these fabulous Okinawa adventures! Love, Robin

  5. Ok, this post has CEMENTED my desire to find someplace to camp in Motobu. There is just too much to do up there for a day trip! Everytime we go up we feel like we have to do the Aquarium cuz the kids love it and we’ve got year passes. But I want to see the castle and pick mikans and go to Orion and go to the British Tea shop and hang in the parts of Expo Park I’ve never even gotten to see (the orchid place esp)…. So I need a place to pitch a tent somewhere. Anyone know of such a place? We’ve stayed at Okuma and driven down, but it’s still a LONG drive each day with little kids…