May 29

Posted by Benjamin Martin, a 5th year JET on Kume Island in Okinawa, publisher of the blog and author of the award-winning YA fantasy series Samurai Awakening (Tuttle).

Kinjo Town PathKinjo Town surrounds the Shuri Castle area in Okinawa.  While Shuri is impressive in its own right, there is much to see outside the Castle grounds.   During this past Golden Week, I took a trip to the Okinawan Mainland, and a friend was kind enough to show me a few out-of-the-way spots.  Through Kinjo Town runs the ‘Ishidatami’ or Rock Road,  a walkway paved in history and adorned with interesting and beautiful flowers along the way.  Follow along for a taste of Kinjo Town.

On the way to to our start, we passed one of Shuri Castle’s side gates.  The area is full of steep roads and interesting places.

We also stopped at a nearby soba shop for lunch before beginning our walk.  This Shisa is a traditional statue on Okinawan homes used to protect against evil spirits and bad luck.

The place we ate was very busy so we sat outside in an almost garden-like area where I found this purple flower.

For Lunch, I had soki soba, or noodles in broth topped with rib meat.  It is another traditional Okinawan food.

Right at the start of our walk, we found these Hanging Heliconias.  Conveniently there was a nearby sign that labeled the flowers along the route in English and Japanese.

This is the first of two springs we saw along the route.  These were used for drinking and washing by the people of Kinjo Town.  Spots like these were marked by small tiles with maps of the area.

These white and pink flowers were labeled as Sokei-Nozen, and hung above a wall.

Here is an old style gate with clay tiles of the same kind of construction seen at the Udun Palace.







The second spring was below the road level and had a pool in which crabs lived.  In the second photo you can see where the water flows out at times.

About half-way along the path, right before a rather steep slope (or just after if you go the other way) there is a small rest house with tatami mats where you can take a load off.

Here’s a map of the area in Japanese with the various sites around Shuri marked.  Check out part 2 for the walk north through the grounds along the rock road to the pond above Shuri. This article was originally posted on More Things Japanese.

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