Katsuren Castle
Uruma, Okinawa
Katsuren Castle ruins.jpg
Ruins of Katsuren Castle
Site information
Open to
the public
Site history
Built13th-14th century
Built byAji of Katsuren Magiri
In use13th century-1611
MaterialsRyukyuan limestone, wood
Battles/warsAttacked by Uni-Ufugusuku (1458)
Garrison information
OccupantsAji of Katsuren Magiri, Amawari
CriteriaCultural: ii, iii, vi
Inscription2000 (24th Session)

Katsuren Castle (勝連城, Katsuren jō, Okinawan: Kacchin Gushiku[1]) is a Ryukyuan gusuku in Uruma, Okinawa. In 2000, Katsuren Castle was designated as a World Heritage Site, as a part of the Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.[2]


Katsuren Castle was built on a large hill of Ryukyuan limestone,[3] 98 meters (322 ft) above sea level on the Katsuren Peninsula. With the Pacific Ocean on two sides, it is also called the "Ocean Gusuku". Its "golden age" was in the mid-15th century, under the powerful Aji of Katsuren, Amawari.[2] The castle was destroyed in 1458 by the Ryukyuan army. Precious tile and Chinese porcelain of the era have been excavated from Katsuren. Such remains testify to the magnificence of the ancient structure and the robust entrepôt trade between Japan, Korea, China, and Southeast Asia.[3] The castle also has an active shrine of the Ryukyuan religion within the first bailey dedicated to Kobazukasa.[4] In the 2010 Okinawa earthquake an outer wall at the northeast of the third bailey of Katsuren Castle was damaged.[5]

Katsuren Castle was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 as part of one of the nine Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu.[4] Katsuren Castle was designated a Designated Historical Monument (史跡, Shiseki) by the Japanese Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1972.[6]

In 2016, both ancient Roman currency and medieval Ottoman currency were excavated there. This was the first time that Roman coins were excavated in Japan.[7][8]


Katsuren Castle can be reached from the Naha Bus Terminal at Naha Airport via the Number 52 bus route, a ride of 1 hour and 20 minutes from the bus terminal. The castle is a five-minute walk from the Katsuren Danchimae (勝連団地前, Katsuren Danchi-mae) stop. The castle site can also be reached by the Okinawa Expressway via the Okinawa Minami IC.[9]


  1. ^ "カッチン". 首里・那覇方言音声データベース (in Japanese).
  2. ^ a b "Katsuren-jō". Encyclopedia Nipponica (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2001.
  3. ^ a b "Katsuren-gusuku". 日本歴史地名大系 (Nihon Rekishi Chimei Taikei, Compendium of Japanese Historical Place Names) (in Japanese). Tokyo: Shogakukan. 2006-10-01.
  4. ^ a b "Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  5. ^ 沖縄本島近海地震 世界遺産の城壁が一部崩落 勝連城跡(in Japanese)
  6. ^ 勝連城跡・文部科学省文化庁(in Japanese)
  7. ^ "Ancient Roman coins unearthed from castle ruins in Okinawa". Japan Times Online. Kyodo. 26 September 2016. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  8. ^ Jozuka, Emiko (27 September 2016). "Ancient Roman coins found in ruined Japanese castle". CNN International. Retrieved 13 August 2018.
  9. ^ "Okinawa Travel: Katsuren Castle Ruins". Japan-guide.com. Retrieved 13 August 2018.

Coordinates: 26°19′48″N 127°52′43″E / 26.33000°N 127.87861°E / 26.33000; 127.87861