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Walking the stone path.  <img src='http://www.guidegecko.com/images/spyglass1.png' align='texttop' /> Click for full image
Travel Guide > Asia > Japan > Okinawa > Naha > Walks, Tours & Itineraries

Shuri Walking Tour

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The Shuri area is one of the best known areas in Okinawa as it is the home of Shuri Castle.  The Shuri walking tour starts at the Shuri monorail station and follows the route between Shuri Castle and Shikina En, the home of the kings summer palace.  Although it is not a long way it does involve a couple of very steep hill which makes it a bit more difficult.  There are a few stops along the way to give walkers a well deserved break in the shade and it is an interesting area to walk through.  Firstly through the castle grounds then down the pedestrian Kinjo stone-paved road.  Then from Kanagusuku Bridge and up to Shikina en it is mostly a residential area with old houses, next door to modern and not so modern apartments, with a few designer homes thrown into the mix.  Roads are narrow and windy but still fairly busy. 

The Start: Shuri Monorail Station

At the monorail station take the South Exit.  A new addition here is a small stall renting out bicycles with motors.  Rental is ¥2000 for a day or ¥1000 for 2 hours. Renting a bicycle is recommended to make this tour a little easier. At the bottom of the exit you will see a shop with a yellow and white awning.  This is Ebisu Curry and Malasada Doughnut Store.  Definitely a great place to stop for some sustenance for the Shuri Area walk. From there walk along Route 29 below the monorail.  Cross the main road and Route 29 becomes Ryutan Dori.  Bear right and you will see a path on the right leading up into a park.  Take that path and make your way through the park.  You will be able to see the rear walls of Shuri Castle.  You can easily spend a couple of hours walking around Shuri Castle making sure to include a visit to Shureimon, the most photographed gate in Okinawa and Enkanchi pond.  When you are ready make your way to the rest centre where you can browse around the souvenir shops and get something to eat or drink. 

From Shuri Castle rest centre to the Kinjo-cho Stone-Paved Road

From the rest area go past the souvenir stores and onto the road.  Turn right.  There is a pedestrian crossing across a larger road leading to a small winding pedestrian path paved with Okinawan white coral stone.  Follow that small road down the hill.  At a fairly sharp bend you will come across the Madama Tea House.  Take half an hour to enjoy a tea or coffee and enjoy the view of Shuri from the verandah.  Continue on down the path and cross another road which will take you to the official top of the Kinjo-cho Stone-Paved Road.

From the Stone Path to Kanagusuku Bridge

This cobblestoned path continues all the way down the hill.   A lot of the path is lined with stone walls and there are several old style Okinawan houses.  There is a small path on the left hand side of the path with a rather tatty green sign.  Follow this path to visit a 300 year old Akagi (Red Tree or Bishop Wood).  Return to the Kinjo Path and continue down.  About half way down the path you will see the village hall on the right hand side.  It is built in a beautiful traditional Okinawan house.  For lunch there are two options.  Opposite the village hall is Ishidatami Restaurant and a little further on at the bottom of the path there is another more expensive restaurant, Sui Dunchi.  Both serve traditional Okinawan food in beautiful settings.  Ishidatami has a more limited menu, only in Japanese but the Goya Champuru and Zenzai are highly recommended.  Sui Dunchi offers a more elaborate menu in an extensive complex including Koi ponds and several dining rooms.  Either option will satisfy any appetite.

From Kanagusuku Bridge to Shikina Shrine

Across the road from Sui Dunchi is Kanagusuku Bridge.  Cross the bridge and now it is time to head uphill.  The hill is very steep but passes some interesting houses.  About half way up the hill you will come to Hantagawa Park.  This is a shady spot to sit for a while and catch your breath.  From the park continue up the hill.  At the top of hill you just continue along the same winding road until you reach a t-junction with a main road.  Along the way you will notice a few ancient wells and streams from natural springs. At the t-junction turn left and pass a JA or Japanese Agriculture building on the left. Right next to the JA building is the Shikina Shrine.  You will recognise it by the Torii or Shrine gate at the entrance.  Take some time to take a look around the shrine and perhaps say a prayer.

From Shikina Shrine to Shikina Park

From the Shikina Shrine turn left and continue up the hill which is fortunately not as steep.  On the right you will see a Family Mart.  Convenience stores are always a good stop if you need any refreshments or if you need to use the bahroom.  Continue up the hill and on the right hand side of the road you will pass the start of the Shikina Grave area.  This area covers several square kilometres and it is interesting to see how the Okinawans bury their dead.  When you reach a set of traffic lights you will see Shikina En or park on the opposite left hand corner.  Shikina En is a beautiful house and park to walk around in after a long walk.  To get back to the centre of Naha from Shikina En it is easiest to take a bus or taxi. There are regular buses and the easiest is to take the number 5 bus which will take you along Kokusai Dori.  The bus schedules are posted on the window at the entrance to the park. Another alternative is to take a taxi.  This could be economical especially if there are two or more people travelling together.  

Type: Walking Tour
Difficulty/exertion: Medium
Location: Naha, Japan
Starting point: Shuri Monorail Station
Nearest public transport: Shuri Monorail Station
Finishing point: Shikina En
Distance & duration: 3.6 km, 4-5 hours
Food/drink stops: Restaurants along the route.

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