Our next stop was the Shuriji Castle. We hadn’t begun our tour of Naha until gone 2.30pm so by now, it was just past 5pm. Dear Miyaki was getting anxious about the closing time and hurried us along.
Once inside the castle grounds, we were treated to Japan in a nutshell. The immaculately dressed school group who arrived at the same time were delightful, waving “hello” to us. In each location of the castle, there was a little rubber stamp station, and this little family were collecting them all, so Father helped his little daughter to add to her collection. The Museum staff greeted us with little bows and smiles and we hurried through, following Miyaki.
The pathway was an interesting construction.
From the first gathering point, we could see a great view of Naha. The rooftops mostly feature water tanks, which Miyaki told us could hold three day’s of water. When the typhoon strikes, the water supply is cut and these tanks provide the family with some back up. I love the modern building in the centre; the slightly pinkish grey one, which is so Japanese, don’t you agree?
In the courtyard, the school group were having a group photo taken, with their serious teachers in the centre. They were so charming!
Mind you, three of the girls preferred to have their photo taken with a member of our crew!
The elegantly dressed gentleman museum steward thought a little before agreeing to have his picture taken, but smiled and said “hai!” and stood still for a few seconds. Love his obi sash!
Photographs inside were very restricted, but in the throne room, it was ok. The sumptuous black and red lacquer furnishings were so photogenic and yet rather difficult to capture effectively.
But the mother-of-pearl throne was highlighted so beautifully against the black background.
And the King’s crown beautifully lit in a little showcase to one side.
As is often the case in Japan, the small details receive as much attention as the main showcase things. Here, the beautiful bolt which holds together the whole building is shaped like a lotus flower and is painted gold. Lovely.
But it was nearing six o’clock and closing time for the castle. The elegant gentlemen were ready for home and began to shoo us out into the courtyard.
Whilst we’d been inside the sun had come out, the clouds (and the crowds) had parted and look what greeted us.
What a beautiful place! How lucky we were to be able to see it and to learn a little of the Okinawan history.
Returning to the car park, a good humoured gentleman was posing for his picture with two excited young women. So cute!
Meeting up with my hero when we returned to the ship, we discovered that he too had been to the castle. Knowing my penchant for collecting Japanese stamps, he’s picked up the brochure in which the little family had been collecting their stamps around the castle.
He knew that it would be exactly my kind of thing and was sorry, but he hadn’t been able to find the stamps.
A good job I’d been collecting them in my notebook then!