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Yozakura Night-Viewing of Cherry Blossoms at Nakijin-jo Castle Site
post : 2020.02.08 06:00
If you’re looking for a great spot in Okinawa to view cherry blossoms at night, this is it! The place is Nakijin-jo castle site, which is listed as a World Heritage Site. This castle (or Gusuku in Okinawan) is located in Nakijin Village in the northern region of Okinawa Island, and at this time of the year, it’s a popular spot that attracts many visitors to enjoy the cherry blossoms after sundown.
The cherry blossoms are beautiful to see, and what’s more, the stone walls that encircle the castle site were lit up on both surfaces of the walls. So, once you enter the castle grounds and reach the main castle ward and look down, you can see the complex curves of the castle walls. Nakijin-jo Castle was historically known as an impregnable fortress as there isn’t a section of the wall that is straight, and is completely surrounded with curving walls for a solid defense.
As you go through the main Heiro-mon gate of the Nakijin-jo castle site, you’ll be met with the most amazing sight of brilliant cherry trees. On both sides of the path, which is called Shichi-Go-San no Kaidan, are the most popular cherry trees on Okinawa, the Kanhi Zakura, with their branches decorated with beautiful pink flowers on the path heads straight to the top of the castle grounds. The lanterns by your feet also adds to the wonderful atmosphere of the place.
The view is fantastic not just on the main paths, but also on the old paths, as you can see above. The Shichi-Go-San steps are crowded with people, but the old path gives you a chance to take your time and enjoy taking photographs.
When I climbed to the top of the main wall, I saw that some o the cherry trees were also lit up. There are footlights set up within the grounds so you can see your footing clearly, and it was a treat to tour the Nakijin-jo castle site at night as they’re normally closed.
The 9th Nakijin Gusuku Cherry Festival ended on February 7 (in 2016, when the original Japanese article was written. But this year, in 2020, the final day of the 13th festival is Sunday, February 9), and about 80% of the flowers were in full bloom, so it’ll still be beautiful to see! Even after the festival and the night time lighting, a visit to Nakijin-jo castle site at this time of the year is truly wonderful.
▼Nakijin-jo Castle Site
Address: 501 Imadomari, Nakijin Village, Kunigami, Okinawa
Admission: 400 Yen/Adult, 300 Yen/Student, Free admission for children younger than elementary school age
Official Website (English): http://nakijinjoseki.jp/en/
Okinawa CLIP photo writer, Hiroshi Kuwamura (KUWA)