The beautiful turret gate of Shuri Castle still conveys the Ryukyu spirit, which prizes courtesy.
Located in Shuri Castle Park, Shureimon is an historic site dating back to the Ryukyu Kingdom that prospered in what is now Okinawa. The word "Shurei" implies demonstrating courtesy, and the wooden tablet that adorns the gate features characters that mean "Land of Propriety". It is said that it was so named because an emperor in ancient China conveyed the message that Ryukyu was a kingdom that prized courtesy and propriety.
One of the turret gates outside the Ryukyu Kingdom's Shuri Castle, Shureimon was built for the first time between 1527 and 1555, during the time of King Sho Sei, the fourth king of the second Sho dynasty. It was designated as a National Treasure in 1933, but was destroyed in the Battle of Okinawa, during the Second World War; it was then rebuilt in 1953 and that is the gate that you see today.
During the Ryukyu Kingdom period (1429-1879), people had a custom of bestowing affectionate nicknames, which were used in addition to official names. Shureimon was also called "Ii no Ayajo", which means "the beautiful gate above". As well as conveying a sense of the pride felt by the Ryukyu people in regard to this gate, many people feel that this is a name with a serenely beautiful resonance. Shureimon is also depicted on the 2,000 yen note.
Address: Shurikinjo-cho, Naha City, Okinawa
Phone: 098-886-2020 (Shurijo Castle Park Management Center)
Hours open to visitors: 24 hours a day
Admission Fee: Free (a fee is charged for an area in Shurijo Castle Park)
Closed: Open year round (except first Wednesday and Thursday of July)
Directions: Take the monorail from Naha Airport to Shuri Station, then about 15 minutes on foot. (Car) About 10 minutes from Naha Interchange on the Okinawa Expressway.