Thursday, July 24, 2014

Photo Tour of Chinen Castle Ruins in Okinawa

Castle exterior wall, photographer

Little Known Fortress Is an Attention Grabber



Today we breezed through a couple of the outer islands and decided to revisit Okinawa.

It's been a few years since Goya Republic Dude and, I explored Chinen (Castle) Gusuku.

The place was destroyed during the War of the Pacific and, is still under construction.

Chinen Castle sign, English, Japanese, parking

This is the only castle ruins, I know of, that requires a downhill walk from the parking area.

Signs, in English and Japanese, guide you along the way.

And, everything is free.

interior view, castle stone walls, gate

The photographer in photo #1 is shooting the external walls of the castle.

This is a view from the inside.

There are construction materials, warning signs and a fence behind me.

The Pacific Ocean is back there below the cliffs, too.

There was a hole in the fence so, I went through, to get closer.

At the end of the pavement, outside the castle, this sign appears, to your right.

Hearing that the first rice, planted on the island was below the castle, I wanted to see the sight.

Somehow, I figured it was a long way from the castle.

But, Goya Republic Dude, had been there on a tour, in the past.

And, he said it was just a few minutes walk from these signs.

It was hot, out in the sun and the trail leading towards the original rice fields, was in the shade.

So, we went flip-flopping down the hill.

Okinawa's first rice paddy

There we found the Chinen Spring and three little rice paddies, like this.

Most people probably, wouldn't be impressed.

But, I got the first place rice was ever planted in Okinawa off my checklist, now.

So, I'm happy, it's done.  And, we got the heck out of there.

inside view, Chinen Castle ruins, two gates

The gusuku (castles) in the Ryukyu islands have some common features.

There are,usually wells or springs and sacred sites within the walls or nearby, on the outside.

We found the Noro's (priestess) dwelling outside this one, but, I didn't take a photo.

It looks like it could use some help getting re-constructed.

But, I will return to his fortress again and again because, I want to learn more about it.

Facts About Chinen Castle



It is one of the oldest, out of 192 Gusuku Sites located by Okinawan archeologists.

The Ryukyu King and Supreme Priestess (Kikoe Ogimi) made pilgrimages here.

A sacred grove dedicated to the god of fire (Hinukan) was located at this site.

On May 15, 1972 this castle was designated a National Historic Site. 

Myths or Legends

The Goddess Amamikyo or, Amami-kyu, brought the first rice to this location.

She and a male deity, Shineri-kyu, lived in separate homes.

They never had sex. Somehow, the wind made her pregnant. Three times.

And, that's how Ryukyu Kings and Priestesses came along.


Someone in the travel and tourism industry, should recognize this fortress.

It could become a goldmine.

The place has historical, religious, cultural and architectural significance.

Put it all together and visitors will come.

Wouldn't you think ?


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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Travel Photo: Sesoko-jima Bridge (瀬底大橋‏)

Sesoko-jima Bridge

This photo was taken from the Sesoko Island side of the bridge, looking back towards Okinawa.

There is a nice, little park to the left, as you enter the island.

Shade trees, restrooms and parking are available there.

And, behind the park, you can find a road, leading to the beach below.

When the bridge was completed (FEB 1985) it was the longest one in the Prefecture.

It is only 762 meters long and, has since lost that distinction.

Kouri Island, has a bridge that's more than twice as long, these days.

This bridge has made travel to the Sesoko Island more convenient, though.

Before the bridge was built, you had to take a ferry, which made 10 round trips a day.

Loading a vehicle on a boat can get expensive.

Crossing the bridge, is free.

It makes you wonder.  What happened to the ferry boats, they put out of business ?

Tell your youngsters to learn bridge building not, ferry boat driving.

Photo Specs:

Camera: Pentax K3

Lens: Pentax 18-250 at a focal length of 250mm

Exposure: f/16   1/30   ISO 100

Related Link:

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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Here's Proof -- This Stuff Wasn't Just a Dream

Live House Dream, Kin Town, Okinawa

It all started with an invitation to see this live band from Tokyo.

Most people, don't go out on Monday night but, yesterday was special.

It was Umi no Hi, a national holiday, in Japan.

stage, Live House, Dream, Kin Town, Okinawa
The weekend, had me busy with photography, past midnight the last few days.

A gal named, Aki would be performing on stage.

If she wasn't such a darling, I would have stayed home last night.

She keeps flying to Tokyo, to sing and, we hardly get to see her anymore.

When she told me the door would be open at 7:30, I showed up at 7PM.

That gave me a chance to check the place out, before the crowds arrived.

band performing on stage

The bar only seats about 65 people.

crowded Live House, dancer

But, Aki is so popular 90-100 guests usually show up to see her.

And, when some fans, start dancing in front of the stage, she cracks up.

singer performing, Ridea

She is one heck of a talented young lady.

singer, keyboard, live band

Trying to catch her eyes, while peeking through a camera view finder is hard work.

singer and keyboard performer

So, plenty of extra shots are taken, to make sure, I get it right.

guy and gal, keyboards

Aki, gets hopping around on the keyboard, too.

live performance
It would probably be a good idea, to take 100 shots just to capture a dozen good ones.

singer, dancer, keyboard, Motion GIF

While she was up there wiggling around, I noticed something.

The poor girl is running around with holes in her jeans.

girl with diamond in nose

But, she has a diamond, stuck on her nose so, I guess she's doing alright !

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Happy Ocean Day -- Sea Day -- Umi no Hi (海の日) in Japan

Kerama Islands view from the sea

This photo is the view, I saw, June 22, 2014 as I was leaving the Kerama Islands.

Today is sort of a national holiday in this part of the world.

Years ago, it was called Marine Day.

These days, Umi no Hi, Ocean Day or Sea Day are the proper titles.

Government institutions, schools and banks are all closed, for the holiday.

But, regular folks, like construction workers, are still out in the hot sun, doing what they do.

Japanese Holidays


With the busy summer schedule, I thought I might post some handy links.

It seems, these holidays sneak up on me and catch me off guard, regularly.

After talking with the wife, over breakfast, I realized why the beach was so busy last night.

People were camping overnight with their families, because they don't have work today.

Learn more about Marine Day at Office Holidays.

 To see all the holidays, celebrated in Japan, visit Japanese Holidays.

It's time for me to pack up the cameras and go celebrate Umi no Hi with some friends.

Ridea, is back in town, playing at a Live House !

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Travel Photo: Sunset from West Coast of Hamahiga Island

sunset over ocean

Off island doing some cultural photography, had me on Hamahiga-jima.

Before leaving that island, I decided to checkout the setting sun.

Playing around with different exposure settings, I took 5 or six shots of Okinawa's east coast.

The place looks pretty small, from this perspective but, it's really not that tiny.

For example: Driving home during the hours of darkness, I got lost twice !

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