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Photo Tour of the Historical Neighborhood of Shuri; Bringing Good Fortune in the 2nd Year of the Reiwa Era
post : 2020.01.02 06:00
What was the year 2019 like for you? For me, the biggest thing that happened in 2019 was definitely the horrific fire that destroyed the Shurijo Castle. Construction of the main Seiden hall of Shurijo Castle was finished and the Ouchibara area behind the Seiden had just been completed. Shurijo Castle is the symbol of Okinawa and for all those who visit these islands, and for me personally, it is truly irreplaceable.
Besides working various jobs in tourism media starting with Okinawa CLIP, I am also a photographer. I often have the opportunity to photograph Shurijo Castle, and I also conduct photo tours in the historical neighborhoods surrounding Shurijo Castle.
In 2019, I was given the opportunity to take photos of groups of students on their school excursions in front of the Shurijo Castle Seiden. I applied for my annual passport to enter the castle grounds and was all ready for my first group of students. Then, on the day of the first scheduled group, Shurijo Castle went up in flames and was burnt to the ground by morning. I jumped out of bed in the middle of the night, shocked at the horrible news and was numb from shock. I wanted to immediately go to Shurijo Castle, but I had to deal with the change of location for the photo shoot that was supposed to happen in front of the Shurijo Castle Seiden, consult with the travel agency before sunrise, and leave the house early in the morning to find an alternative photo location. The students that I was scheduled to take photos of later said, “The mother at the place where we were staying was crying when she watched the news about the fire.” On that day, the locals and many other people were deeply saddened by the devastating news.
For a while after the fire, visitors could only go as far as Sonohyan Utaki from the Shureimon gate, but presently, approximately 80% of the area aside from the Seiden and the main court are open to the public. Free explanations of the grounds are given four times a day by the Shurijo Castle Park staff, and so it would be wonderful for people to once again visit the castle.
Around the Shurijo Castle, there is a photo tour offered by Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Hiroshi Kuwamura (KUWA). The photo tours takes you on the Madamamichi road (a state road) that stretches from Shurijo Castle which was constructed during the period of the Ryukyu Dynasty period, and to various ‘power spots’ to bring you good fortune for the New Year. Tour schedules are available for the month of January 2020, so grab your camera and join the tour of the historical paths around Shurijo Castle.
[Okinawa: Good Fortune Photo Tour of the Historical Areas of Shuri. Limited to one group per day.]
From 13:00 on 1/11 (Sat), 1/12 (Sun), 1/18 (Sat), 1/19 (Sun), 1/25 (Sat), 1/26 (Sun). For further details and photo tour schedules, please refer to the official website (https://tabica.jp/travels/2593).
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Hiroshi Kuwamura