|Title||Gusuku Sites and related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu|
The island group commonly known as Okinawa are also known as the Ryuku Islands. The name Ryuku comes from the native culture which is quite different from the culture of mainstream Japan.
The islands are subtropical and the marine life and coral reefs make them very popular for snorkelling and scuba diving. The other main attraction is the distinctive culture of the region
The Ryukyu islands were for 600 years (12th – 17th centuries) an independent kingdom under the influence of China. During that time the islands were an area where an interchange of culture and trade took place between south-east Asia, China, Korea and Japan and the results of this can be seen in the surviving monuments. Several castle ruins and other sites in Okinawa Prefecture date back to the era of the Ryukyu Kingdom. The culture that emerged during that time of wide-ranging economic and cultural contacts was very special and unique. Especially notable was the form of nature and ancestor worship which has survived in its ancient form to today and can be seen in the sacred sites around the islands. For these reasons the sites were declared on the list of World Heritage sites in 2000.
In the 17th Century the islands came under the control of what was then the Satsuma fiefdom and are today Kagoshima prefecture. They were made a prefecture in 1879 and resisted efforts to absorb them into mainstream Japanese culture.
During WWII Okinawa was scene of one of the bloodiest battles of the Pacific War when American troops landed. Okinawa remained under American administration until 1972 and the Americans still maintain a controversial presence through several large military bases.
We can provide professional interpreters who have a guide-interpreter license at your request.
The tour guide interpreters have accurate knoeledge about Japanese culture, tradition and other points of interest.