NAHA GUIDE

Naha Guide - Naha attractions including UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Naha pictures and map.

Naha (那覇市; -shi) which is the capital city of Okinawa Prefecture (沖縄県) in Japan. The modern city was founded on 20 May 1921. However, it had been one of the most important and populous sites in the Ryukyu Islands as the capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom, from the early 15th century until its abolishment in 1879 (from other view, 1872).

Naha is a coastal city located on the southern part of Okinawa Island, the largest of the Ryukyu Islands. Its coast is on the East China Sea.

Naha is the political, economical and educational centre of Okinawa Prefecture. In the feudal period, it was also the religious centre of the Ryukyu Dynasty.

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Naha City

Downtown Naha consists of Palette Kumoji, the location of the Okinawa Prefecture Office, Naha City Hall, and many banks and corporations, accompanied by a nine story shopping mall. Kokusai Dori, the main entertainment strip in Naha, is near Kumoji and boasts a mile (1.6 km) long stretch of stores. There are many restaurants as well as shopping centres and tourist gift shops. The night life on Kokusai Dori is always bustling with clubs, bars, and cheap eateries open until the wee hours of the morning. Kokusai Dori ends at the main bus terminal in Okinawa. There is also a station for Okinawa's only train system, the Yui Rail.

Spurring off from Kokusai is the covered Heiwa-Dori Shopping Arcade with a large people's market. It is quite informal compared to Kokusai Street, and often confusing to walk in.

Naha Sights

Shuri Castle

Shuri Castle, the former palace of the Ryukyu Dynasty, is one of the finest gusuku (Okinawan castle) and most important historical sites in Naha. The palace was almost completely destroyed in 1945 by an attack by the US Army and Navy. After the war, the University of the Ryukyus was constructed on the site. Today Shuri Castle has been reconstructed, including Shurei no Mon, its main gate, and registered as UNESCO world heritage sites.

Shurei no Mon Naha
Shurei no Mon is one of Naha's most famous sights. Picture by Fg2

Lake Man, covered with mangrove woods on the boundary of the city of Tomigusuku, is listed on the Ramsar list of wetlands.

Naha Transport

Naha Airport and Naha Port serve the city. Naha Airport is the hub of the Ryukyu Islands.

The Okinawa Monorail carries passengers from Naha Airport Station to the centre of Naha, and to the terminal at Shuri Station, which is closest to Shuri Castle.

Naha History

Walls of Shuri Castle in NahaIn Naha, some archaeological relics of the Stone Age were found. Also, from a Jomon period kaizuka, ancient Chinese coins were found.

Today Naha has developed as a city around Shuri Castle, the palace of the Ryukyu Kingdom. In the period of the Ryukyu kingdom, there were five districts in the area of present-day Naha.

After the replacement of the Ryukyu Kingdom with Naha Han in 1872, Naha became the capital city of Naha Han. Naha Han was abolished in 1879 and the former Ryukyu Kingdom was once merged into Kagoshima prefecture. With the later establishment of Okinawa Prefecture, Naha became its capital city.

When Naha city was founded in 1921, in the area that present-day Naha occupies there were several municipalities including Naha city and Shuri city. Later Shuri was merged into Naha.

During the battle of Okinawa in World War II, attacks by US forces highly damaged Naha. The entire centre of the city had to be rebuilt.

Naha Martial arts

Naha-Te, "Naha-hand", is a type of martial art developed in Naha. Together with the martial arts styles of Tomari and Shuri it formed the basis for Okinawa-te, which in turn is the origin of today's karate-do.

Naha Education

Four universities are located in Naha. Two are run by Okinawa Prefecture; two are private. The University of the Ryukyus, the sole national university in Okinawa Prefecture, was also in Naha, on the site of Shuri Castle. Prior to the restoration of the castle, the university moved to the town of Nishihara to the north of Naha.

Article based on Wikipedia article and used under the GNU Free Documentation License)

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