Tamagusuku ruins (Tamagusuku-jo seki)
Published: 6-9-2019
Edited: 1-13-20

Tamagusuku castle was a fortress located on the Chinen Peninsula, in the southern part of Okinawa Island, between Itokazu gusuku less than a kilometer to the west, and Kakinohana gusuku (4th video down) to the east.

It is unclear when Tamagusuku gusuku was first built, but it is believed to have been restored and expanded during the reign of King Eiso (r. c. 1260-1299). The Chu̅zan seikan relates that the gusuku was built by Amamikyo (aka Amamichuu - or - Amekushin-otome-o̅ankami), the creator god of Okinawan myth, though given the varied meanings of the word gusuku, this may refer to the creation of the site as a site of sacred power, and not to the creation of the fortress. The site is considered one of the seven major utaki, or sacred sites, on the island, and is referred to in the Omoro so̅shi as a "gusuku of the gods." It was the site of prayers for rain and New Year's rituals for a good harvest; the kikoe-ogimi, or High Priestess, would come here directly and specifically once every two years to perform certain rituals.

The fortress consists of three enclosures, the highest one about 180 meters above sea level. The site was protected to the northwest by the drop of the cliff, and to the east by the high stone walls of the second and third enclosures. Much of the stone from these two enclosures was later taken from the site by US military to be used as construction materials, and so more or less all that remains today is the foundation stones.

A gate in the highest enclosure is carved out of the natural rock into the shape of a magatama (Magatama are curved, comma-shaped beads that appeared in prehistoric Japan from the Final Jōmon period through the Kofun period, approximately ca. 1000 BCE to the sixth century CE.), and has become the symbol of the castle.

Four sacred sites are located within the enclosure. The walls of the first enclosure, which remain intact, are constructed in a mixture of cut stone and uncut stone styles. They are 5-6 meters tall at the tallest point, and as much as six meters thick at the thickest points.

It later became home to Aji Tamagusuku. In 1429 it was abandoned as the three kingdoms were consolidated into the Ryukyu Kingdom.

It is also called Amachijigusuku This castle was designated a national historic site on August 21, 1987. By the way, the Indy Jones Trail begins and ends at Tamagusuku ruins.

From the front deck of my house, an Airbnb rental property in Oshiro, Nanjo, I could see the top of the mountain and had to know what was up there!

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