UGH I know I may complain about the weather a ton (the weather here is garbage 90% of the time) but it was absurdly cold these past two weeks in Okinawa and I barely survived. Granted, “cold” has meant temps in the mid to low 50s, however when you’re used to oppressive heat and humidity this sudden chill meant ya girl could only brave the outdoors if bundled up in a puffy coat, fuzzy socks, fleece lined leggings, and a hat. That may sound like over kill, but I swear my blood has thinned out (that’s a thing, right?) since we moved here!
THANKFULLY though it seems as that the worst of winter ended just as quickly as it started... With the temperature now rising to 68 degrees and an unexploded WWII ordnance removal (yes, you read that right) closing down base for most of the day, Ben and I used this unexpected time off and gorgeous weather to do the usual: explore!
I had no clue that Tamagusku Castle existed until we drove past a sign signaling that the ancient ruins were a quick right turn off of the road. With a never ending quench to see every “cool” thing in Okinawa, Ben and I knew we had to check out what this castle had in store.
It’s important to know that in Okinawa there are many castle “sites” which lack any actual ruins and are just there to remind everyone that in one point in time a castle used to reside there. With this in mind we really weren’t expecting much, we are all too familiar with castle sites that are actually just never ending jungle trails.
Fortunately for us, there were actually physical ruins still standing at the Tamagusku Castle!!! The pièce de résistance was the entryway which was a bit rough around the edges (literally) but surprisingly fully intact. The views of the neighboring golf course were also quite impressive due to the elevation of the ruins.
Although these castles were a good side trip, there’s really not enough to see to justify driving allllllll the way down south solely to visit them. If you want to check out this tiny beauty make sure you also have additional plans down south to make the trip worth while!
GOOGLE MAPS ADDRESS: 〒901-1400 Okinawa-ken, Nanjō-shi, Tamagusuku, Tamagusuku−444
Ben and I ended up down South in the village of Itokazu in the first place with the intent of seeing the Itokazu castle ruins. Just when we think we’ve seen every castle that Okinawa has to offer, another one appears on our radar out of no where!
I’m not going to lie, I was absolutely enthralled with these ruins. I know I sound like a broken record, but these were my favorite ones yet! This site had not yet been turned into a tourist attraction which meant no entrance fees, no marked off areas, no people or signs telling you not to go here or climb there, and my absolute favorite: not a single soul in sight. It seems like people have forgotten about this impressive castle for whatever reason, but it made for one of our best ruin explorations to date.
I have done absolutely zero research about this castle, but I’ve got the aching suspicion that some of these walls might have been rebuilt after WWII. This castle was directly in the middle of the Battle of Okinawa which meant it was most likely destroyed (at least partially) by explosions and artillery. It looked just a *bit* too put together to have endured this destruction. I didn’t mind though, I loved every inch of these 20 foot tall walls which were perfectly pieced together. Not to mention, we’re quite used to most historical sites in Okinawa being reproductions due to WWII devastation.
Itokazu castle had some serious Great Wall of China vibes and every new stretch of wall (there are quite a few) left me beaming with excitement - I am such a sucker for castle ruins!
GOOGLE MAPS ADDRESS: Itokazu-１３３ 玉城糸数, Nanjō-shi, Okinawa-ken 901-1400
Itokazu spring was right now the road from the castle ruins so we figured hey, why not? There’s not a ton to see, but I really enjoyed the super old and worn shisa dog that was also there. It seems as though the site of the spring might be a breeding ground for mosquitoes and other creepy crawlers come summer so you’ve been warned!
GOOGLE MAPS ADDRESS: 〒901-1400 Okinawa-ken, Nanjō-shi, Tamagusuku, Itokazu−1
Thanks for reading! I’ll be posting about our visit to Yaese Park and Cave in a bit so stay tuned...
We're Kara, Ben and baby Zoe also known as the Lesniaks. We’re a Marine Corps family currently stationed in Yorktown, Virginia after a three year tour in Okinawa, Japan. Enjoy our adventures, travels, photos, thoughts, and life together!
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