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Friday, November 11, 2011

"Iha-jo Castle Ruins of Ishikawa"

Entrance to the Iha-jo Castle Ruins

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Iha-jo Castle Ruins of Ishikawa

     N 26 25.285E 127 49.031

Iha-jo Castle Ruins of Ishikawa

This is the Iha-jo Castle Ruins of Ishikawa in Uruma City. It is a small castle site that sits on a hilltop over looking what is now Ishikawa district and Kinbu Bay. You will see remains of an old single layered stone wall that surrounds the castle site in different areas. The castle ruins covers about about 60 square meters, or 201 square feet in total area. Up on top you will see various spots where people pray, known as 'utakis'. Various artifacts have been discovered here to include pottery from other countries. There was also indications that poles to erect huts were used at one time on the castle grounds. Near the main entrance to the castle ruins you will see a large torii gate and a sign translated in English provided by the Okinawa Prefecture Board of Education and the then, Ishikawa City Board of Education. The source of the information was derived from that sign.  

One point of interest near this site is the burial tomb of Iha Nuru. This is supposedly about 200 meters away from the castle ruins. However, it could not be located. Either the path to it was overgrown by vegetation or the sign marker was removed. The word 'Nuru' is Okinawan dialect (Hogen) for 'Noro' in Japanese. A 'Noro' or 'Nuru' is a priestess, and for many centuries has played significant roles in Okinawan culture, religion, and society. To read up a little about Japanese/Okinawa Priestess please check out the Japan: Life and Religion website. As of now, the mysterious location of the Iha Nuru Tomb will remain in the O-Files.

Getting there. Getting these isn't difficult. It is not far from the Highway 329 (Ishikawa Bypass) and Highway 6 traffic intersection. Look for these brown and beige road signs along the road to see where to turn. It's not too difficult.

Parking. You can park off to the side near the ruin grounds.
What to bring. Camera, mosquito repellent, good shoes, umbrella and/or guide stick.
Caution. You may see areas of overgrown vegetation. Avoid walking in these areas if you cannot see around where you are stepping, the obvious danger being snakes.