On July 15 2020 I visited Shuri Castle to see the progress with reconstruction. As you approach the castle, nearly everything appears to be as it was before the fire. The Shureimon gate is intact, locals were praying at the Sonohyan-utaki, and the stone walls and archways of the Kankaimon gate all bore no evidence of the disaster. At the ticket booth in the Shichi-nu-una courtyard you can purchase a discounted entry ticket, but it only as you pass through the Houshimon ticket gate into the main courtyard you are hit with the vast change to the beloved castle. Where the main Seiden once stood there is now a beige prefab building. Dozen of bags of rescued materials sit on the red and white stripes of the courtyard. The two dairyuchu great dragon pillars that survived the fire now stand protected by scaffolding. Lying on the courtyard are small piles of charred rubble, and the remains of the dragon heads that once crowned the castle roof. You can now walk to the rear of the …
At approximately 2:30 a.m. on Thursday 31st October 2019 a fire started inside Okinawa’s Shuri Castle which destroyed the main hall and several adjoining buildings. Now, one week later, the Governor of Okinawa and the Prime Minister of Japan have both promised that it shall be rebuilt. The challenges of doing so, and the timeline are not yet clear, but I look forward to it rising once again from the ashes of destruction. Below are a few pics of Shuri Castle taken over the last 19 years. Most were taken at the New Year Festival or the Shuri Castle Festival which they were preparing for when the fire broke out.
If you’d like to give one of my prints as a Christmas gift, then the deadline for ordering is December 15th. Worldwide express shipping with tracking is fast, reliable, and included in the price, but I like to have 10 days as the postal services around the world can get a little busy during the holiday season. Check out all the prints available on the TRAVEL67 website. There are three new prints also available: Shuri Castle, Torii & Lantern, Cape Manza. They are not up on the website yet, but if you’d like to order one of these just send me a message and I’ll be in touch.
After the earlier demonstrations in the shicha-nu-una, the final events of karate day took place in the forecourt of Shuri Castle. Eight of the most senior karate masters in the world each performed a kata. Of the eight, I’ve only photographed Zenpo Shimabukuro sensei which just shows how much further we have to go with the Karate Masters Portrait Project.