The Nakagusku castle ruins lie on the the east coast of the island, just south of Okinawa City.
The Ryukyuan castle, or gusuku, was built in the 15th century. Unlike Shuri-jo, with its gift shops and costumed staff and refreshment plaza,, Nakagusku is undeveloped, unpolished, and unbranded.
After paying admission at the small ticket booth near the grassy overgrown parking lot, we hiked up the hill to find the ruins, lonely for visitors, the enormous man made rock formations stark against the brilliant blue sky and expansive green.
Though I love the pageantry of Tsuruga-jo, the folk dance at Shuri-jo, the historical tour guide at Matsumoto-jo, and treading in sock feet on the time-polished wooden floorboards at Matsue-jo, there is something to be said for castle ruins left unadorned, unexplained, and largely unstaffed. The busy-ness of those castles is surely entertaining, but at Nakagusku it is only the crumbling foundation open to the sky.
There is a lot of space for the imagination there.