We're at the last day of my trip to Okinawa. It was cloudy, and later on in the day it rained. Actually, we lucked out with the weather because Okinawa does tend to be cloudy in the winter, and yet we got sunny weather three out of four days. We spent the day in Naha.
This fountain was in a park, and it looks really special, so I wondered if it might not be an old fountain that was used for daily water needs back in the day. There are a lot of places like that all over Okinawa. I couldn't find a sign for this one though.
Here's the entrance to the Fuzhou Garden. This garden was built to commemorate the long relationship between Naha and Fuzhou in China. During the Ryukyu Kingdom period, sailors would leave Ryukyu from the port in Naha and would usually arrive at Fuzhou before the senior members of the trip made the inland trip to Beijing. Fuzhou and Naha are sister cities to this day. This garden was built about 20 years ago, and they used materials and experts from Fuzhou to build it, so it's an authentic Chinese-style garden.
This bridge has the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac on it.
There was a vending machine for fish food, so I directed the fish around until I could get a pretty clean shot of the pretty white one.
There was a cave from which you could look out from behind the waterfall.
The cave in the photos above is inside here.
After leaving the Fuzhou Garden we headed to the Confucius Temple. On the way we saw this:
This is a marker for the Mudan Incident. This was an incident where some sailors who had left Okinawa were blown off course and landed on Taiwan's east coast. Most of them were killed by the aboriginies living in the area. Japan used the incident as an excuse to assert its sovereignty over Ryukyu. Because of Ryukyu's long associations with both China and Japan, both countries were making claims to it. After the Mudan Incident, the Japanese government complained to the Qing government that Japanese subjects had been killed by Chinese subjects. The Qing didn't really fight this assertion, so they in effect recognized Japan's claim to Ryukyu territory. In the years after this Ryukyu was formally made a part of the Japanese nation, and then made into a prefecture just like any other territory in Japan proper.
During the negotiations with Japan, the Qing also claimed that the aboriginies were not under control which also raised questions in the international world about the Qing's claims to the island of Taiwan. (As a matter of fact, the Qing did not really control the whole island at any point during their rule.)
I was excited to check out this Confucius Temple because there is a really famous one in Tainan. This one here in Naha reflects the long relationship with China in Okinawa. There used to be a whole community of Chinese expats in Naha during the Ryukyu days. You won't find Confucius Temples anywhere else in Japan except for other places that historically had Chinese populations like Nagasaki.
This is the goddess Mazu. She's really popular in Taiwan. She's originally from the south east coast of China, and she's concerned with safety at sea, so wherever Chinese sailors went, Mazu temples were erected.
Here, go learn about Sai On. He's a major figure in Ryukyuan history, so you'll be doing yourself a favor.
This next series of photos is of an area near a lake called Manko in Naha. The photos aren't interesting unless you know Japanese, and even then they're only interesting if you have a fifth-grader's sense of humor.
Next we went to Shuri Castle. This castle was the center of the Kingdom of Ryukyu. The guy who united Okinawa into one kingdom, Sho Hashi, was originally the Kingdom of Chuzan (the middle part of Okinawa) and had his base at Urasoe Castle, which I showed photos of previously on the second day of the trip. Once he united Okinawa, Sho Hashi moved his capitol to Shuri.
This is the entrance to a temple called Enkakuji just at the foot of the hill to Shuri Castle.
And this is a temple to Benzaiten, a goddess often associated with water.
The explanation above was written in multiple languages, but I thought the Korean version was interesting. It's got Chinese characters mixed in with the Hangul. This is pretty much how they write Japanese, but modern Korean has totally scrapped the Chinese letters for their purely phonetic system.
Two trees have grown together here.
By this time it was raining. There was a bird taking shelter in this gate here.
We arrived at Shuri just at the same time as a bunch of high school kids on their class trip.
We were laughing at one group of three boys who were sharing one tiny umbrella. You just know that the teacher warned them to bring an umbrella in the morning and that they forgot.
This is a sacred spot on the grounds of Shuri Castle.
They used to leave pots half buried like this to collect rainwater.
This is the main building.
The North Building is done in Japanese style. The combination of Japanese and Chinese building styles speaks to Ryukyu's history between these two huge countries.
Another bird hiding from the rain.
Inside the main building.
The door in front opens up onto the courtyard in front of the main building. (We're on the second floor at this point.) The King performed certain ceremonies from here.
The King's throne.
This is one of the official stamps Ryukyu received from the Qing. Ryukyu was a sort of vassal state of the Ming, and later the Qing, so the Ryukyu kings were officially given their position by the Chinese. Of course, the Chinese didn't actually choose who the king would be, they just confirmed whoever was chosen.
The king's crown.
This is another official stamp. This one has a camel on top.
This bell was given to Ryukyu by China. It was an inscription on it that tells of how Ryukyu connected many countries in the world through their overseas activities. This bell was one of the great treasures of the Ryukyu Kingdom. It managed to somehow survive the war and is safe in a museum now. This one is just a replica.
After leaving Shuri, we went to Tama Udun. This is the grave for most of the Ryukyu Kings.
That's rain in the above photo!
In the Tama Udun museum, this bat seems awfully proud of himself. Well, it is rather big, isn't it?
Some sepia shots of Naha at night.
That's it! We went home to Tainan the next day, so there are no more photos of Okinawa. But don't worry! There are still lots of photos of Taiwan to come! Yay!