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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.


  1. We'll find that Nuru Site. It's only a matter of time. Great info, here. Glad you share directions.

  2. Fantastic info mate, between yourself and Mike I feel like I could be an honourary Okinawan.

  3. Hey Map It! Gang,

    I received an email from a person who goes by the name of Owen on the location of the Noro Tomb mentioned above. Here is his exact words and description of the location:

    "The Iha Naru Ohaka can be found about 10meters above the northern entrance to the 329 by-pass tunnel! To get there from the castle entrance (the one with the tori), head 2 blocks down the road until you hit Route 6. Turn right. After 200 metres or so, after the last of the houses on the right, there`s a small sign for the tomb, pointing up a rough track. Go up there for about 50 metres and look out for an unmarked path to the right. It goes downhill and shortly brings you to the shrine (you will soon notice the fast moving traffic on the by-pass below). If you miss the turn and go too far, you will soon come to a bunch of family tombs."

    When I am in the area, I will try check it out, but wanted to provide this in case some of you wanted to find it for your yourselves in the meantime. If I find it, I will GPS it for you in another post.

    Happy Exploration.

    And Thanks Owen.

    Map It! Okinawa

    1. Clarification on the above directions...

      "from the castle entrance, head 2 blocks down the hill, then turn right` (don`t keep going down until you hit the 6). The road that you turn right on is the one that goes from Iha-shoten (on the 6), over the tunnel and Expressway, to the Coca-Cola/Aquarius factory, also on the 6. (It`s a little shortcut that cut`s-out the lights on the 329 crossing)".

      Clarification credit goes to Mr. Owen.