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Thursday
Nov102011

Gusuku

   Zakimi Castle (座喜味城 Zakimi Gusuku) is a gusuku, or Okinawan fortress, located in Yomitan, Okinawa Prefecture. Built between 1416 and 1422 by the Ryûkyûan militarist Gosamaru, the castle oversaw the northern portion of the Okinawan mainland, then known as the Hokuzan Kingdom. The gusuku fortress has two inner courts, each with an arched gate. This is Okinawa's first stone arch gate featuring the unique keystone masonry of the Ryûkyûs. 

   During World War II, the castle was used as a gun emplacement by the Japanese army, and after the war it was used as a radar station by the US forces. Some of the walls were destroyed in order to install the radar equipment, but they have since been restored.

   Zakimi Castle, along with Shuri Castle and several other related sites in Okinawa, were desiganted a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage site in 2000. They are also designated a National Historical Site.

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