OKINAWA TRIP 6: NAKAGUSUKU CASTLE
By Jenifer Tull-Gauger
After our delicious lunch in the “Lucky Cat Café” we sang Happy Birthday to our interviewer Taika-san. Then we got back to business and drove off to one more castle, Nakagusuku, before the TV crew returned to mainland Japan. Some pics of the neighborhood:
I would give this the “Best Parking Lot” award – with grass growing between spaces arranged in a circle. I noticed from this map that we actually parked in the bus parking lot. Luckily, it was not a busy day for Nakagusuku and there were hardly any other visitors.
This model gives you an idea of how far we walked to explore the castle grounds. Thanks to our relaxing lunch in a nice, cool café and riding in air conditioned cars, the heat and humidity were bearable for about the first half of Nakagusuku.
The lady in the ticket booth told us to enter the castle from the rear gate – this depicts the path to it, and the view off to the side of the path:
The castles that had signs like the one below were well-preserved and taken-care-of, even re-built and renovated. The photo on the right shows the wall of the back enclosure:
The two on the left, below, show the Rear Gate. Kaicho talked about how they would guard it. The right photo shows the view looking out from the gate:
Once inside the gate, we climbed steep stairs up to the left. The ground was paved in stones:
They made it to the top! In the middle here you can see their view. The stairs led up to the inside of this enclosure:
As we left the enclosure, we saw signs for a well at the bottom of some stairs. Griffin ventured down and took some pictures for me. The well held some green water:
This enclosure had a ramp going up to the top of the wall, where you could walk around. The other end of the enclosure is on the right:
We walked around on the thick walls of Nakagusuku castle and saw that ocean flanks the far side of the site. Later, when Tokyo TV took video of our kata, they made sure that this tall monument/memorial to the dead was not near us or in the shot. (I think respect demanded that. That’s not the superstitious part.)
In an enclosure closer to the front gate, rests a quiet sacred place of prayer:
And now we have the superstitious part. Across the valley, Nakagusuku castle looks upon this haunted structure. It was going to be a modern hotel. But after construction started, several workers died there of mysterious causes. The surviving builders refused to work on it anymore, because it is haunted. Nobody would work there, so construction they had to abandon construction.
Somebody called us back to an enclosure with a nice flat area, to demonstrate our kata. After that, a young local man asked Kaicho about our activities, and asked if he could learn something. In Kaicho style, he first had the young man feel the technique. Then he taught him how to do it on Rhoad Renshi.
I enjoyed seeing the variety of tropical plants at Nakagusuku castle:
This shot depicts the scenic view from outside the enclosures, and the other shows a marker on the ground. Several castles had these compasses showing the directions of other castles and important historical landmarks:
By the time we walked back to the bottom of Nakagusuku castle, we were relieved to be able to purchase cold drinks and delicious sorbet from a small (air conditioned!) gift shop. After a brief rest, we returned to the parking lot and said goodbye and thank you to the Tokyo TV crew. We were sad to see Kaita-san, Shiho-san, and Yotaro-san leave, but we were grateful to have had the chance to spend time with them. (No pictures – too tired to take pictures.)