Tomigusuku Gusuku, Tomise Utaki (currently closed) , Tomigusuku Jyoshi (castle site)

Tomigusuku Gusuku is said to have been built by Wan Oso, who later became the king of Nanzan, on a hill with a great view of the coast of Manko around 1400 during the Sanzan Period of Ryukyu. Later on, during the battle of uniting the three mountains into one, Nanzan was attacked by Sho Hashi, the king of Chuzan, and was defeated and lost in 1429. From Jo Hoko’s Chinese poem that was written when coming to Ryukyu as Sho Keio’s deputy envoy, and from the drawings and writings that the convey of Perry’s squadron left in 1853, it is said that Tomigusuku Gusuku was surrounded by three layers of wall and had five gates.
Inside the castle, there is the Tomise Utaki where it is said that the dragon god of water and rain is unshrined, and according to recordings from about 300 years ago, dragon boat races and ritual for rain took place. Later on, the castle ruin got destroyed under attack during the Battle of Okinawa, and most of its remains was lost in the clean up after war. Today, it is a holy ground where Harii Yurai Festival takes place only once a year.


Other gusukus (castles) in Tomigusuku City

usukus are not only castles where leaders resided, but also within the premises are sanctuaries and sacred sites where gods are enshrined which are religious sites that have been passed on from long ago.

Nagamine Gusuku: From excavation research, pieces of foreign dishes were found. In the premise are sanctuary, sacred site, water well and others.
(Please refer to the official guide book for locations of each gusuku.)

Taira Gusuku: Part of the castle wall remains, and is related to the kumi odori “Misho No En”.

Bin Gusuku: From excavation research, dwelling sites and pieces of foreign dishes were found. Place related to the kumi odori “Misho No En”.

Senaga Gusuku: Though there is mere shadow of a gusuku due to the landscape being very much changed by the attack of the Battle of Okinawa and it being cleaned out for U.S. Military use after the war, it has been said that there was a castle on island from long ago, and remains of existence and pieces of pottery from the 14th to 15th century were found from research.
Senagajima is said to be the birthplace of Tomigusuku and was an island full of history and religion.


Madan Bridge Remains (Tomigusuku City’s tangible cultural asset, Madanbashi Iko)

Mandanbashi is a wooden bridge build by Sho Shino in 1522 which was the key traffic point connecting the administration of Ryukyu Kingdom and Nanzan. Later on it was renovated into a stone bridge by Sho Ikuo in 1708 with six beautiful arches and a wave cutter to protect the bridge from water current, and was the bridge that represented Ryukyu’s unique culture of stone construction. Though it got destroyed in the Battle of Okinawa, the precious bridge from about 300 years has been partially restored, and is preserved aside of the current Madanbashi reminding people of its remnant from back in the days.
Also, the Chofuku Madanbashi Hibun, a monument from about 200 years ago that recorded the renovation construction work of the Mandanbashi, has been restored in from of the Madanbashi community center. Though the actual monument was destroyed in the Battle of Okinawa, information about it is displayed at the Tomigusuku City History and Folk Exhibit Hall.

address: 77-2 Madanbashi, Tomigusuku-shi, Okinawa
Madanbashi (Wikipedia)


John Manjiro and Tomigusuku (John Manjiro Memorial)

John Manjiro (Manjiro Nakahama 1827-0898) is one of those who played an active part in Japan’s tumultuous history of change from closure to opening by serving as chief interpreter for the mission of the “Japan-US Treaty of Amity and Commerce”. He landed on today’s Oodo Coast of Itoman City in 1851 in order to return to Japan during its closure. After spending half an year at the Takayasu Residence (currently Onaga, Tomigusuku-shi) where he was ordered to stay by the administration of the Ryukyu Kingdom, he returns to Japan in the late Edo Period.

Address of John Manjiro Memorial: 260, Onaga, Tomigusuku-shi (inside Onaga Joint Use Facility)
John Manjiro (Wikipedia)


Former Japan Navy Headquarter’s Cave, Japan Navy Cave Park

In 1944, Japan Navy’s Construction Party dug the cave which is said to have been 450m long. The horizontal tunnel dug in a semicircular shape was strengthened with concrete and wooden stakes to withstand the US naval bombardment, and at the time held 4,000 soldiers as an underground base to endure the continuous long battle.
When hoping for peace, it is a precious location which still leaves today a mark of wound of the war that must not be forgotten.
Also, the East China Sea, Naha City and the Shuri Castle can be viewed from the Navy Cave Park. During the Shuri Dynasty Period, it was the place where the signal for notifying of incoming ships from China and Satsuma, the “Hibanmui” was located.

Address: 236, Tomigusuku, Tomigusuku-shi, Okinawa
Phone: 098-850-4055
Former Japan Navy Headquarter’s Cave official website


Shiisa lions in Tomigusuku City

There are shiisa lions remaining in ten locations in Tomigusuku City. The lions were made to keep out the evil spirit and misfortune that come from outside the colony. (Please refer to the map for the locations of each shiisa.)

The shiisa of Madanbashi consists of two bodies, Irinu Shiisa and Agarinu Shiisa.

Shiisa of Nesabu

Shishime of Takayasu

Shisagua of Noha

Shiisa of Takamine

Shiisa of Tokashiki

Shiisa of Bin

Shiisa of Nakachi

Shiisa of Tagami

Shiisa of Tagami

Tomigusuku City History and Folk Exhibit Hall

Within the facility, there are sections on housing, farm tool, fishing gear, festival, event and the Battle of Okinawa where you can observe the lifestyle of Tomigusuku and its transition. There are numerous materials exhibited from which you feel various wisdom from the way of the ancestors’ life and the lifestyle of the old days.

Address: 392, Iraha, Tomigusuku-shi, Okinawa
Phone: 098-856-3671
Tomigusuku City Cultural Affairs Division official website


Chobin Heshiki Memorial, stone monument of the Kumi Odori “Temizu No En”, Poem Inscription of Nakafuubushi

A stone monument built in commemoration of the 300th anniversary of kumi odori writer Chobin Heshiki (1700-1734). While Okinawa’s kumi odori was designated by UNESCO as Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity, the memorial was built on Senagajima which formed the setting of kumi odori “Temizu No En”.
Also, Chobin left a passage about Senagajima as follows. “Talk to me. Let’s go across to fall in love. If there is such island in this world where birds do not chirp to notify dawn.” From the old days, this island was sung to be the ideal world to speak of love.


Poem Inscription of Kodakaraiwa (Senagajima)

The kodakaraiwa, which was located in the ocean near the southwestern coast of Senagajima, is said to have been a huge rock with a hole at the top and bottom long ago. It was a power spot where childless couples made wish to god. Though it was destroyed during the streamlining of the area after the war and no longer exists, a memorial poem inscription was built and its told that “You will have a boy if you go into top hole, and you will have a girl if you go into the bottom hole.” In light of many requests to restore the Kodakaraiwa, a restoration plan is under way.