Shuri Castle and Utaki goshuin seals gaining popularity—an invitation to pray for peace

Shuri Castle and Utaki goshuin seals gaining popularity—an invitation to pray for peace

One of seven varying goshuin seals, accompanied by a poem and artwork.

October 28, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo

By Ryota Nakamura


Visitors now have another way of enjoying the ancient yet new Shuri Castle. The Shuri Castle area houses several Utaki and other places of worship that recently debuted goshuin seals (a keepsake seal traditionally issued at shrines as proof of pilgrimage) which are slowly gaining popularity. These goshuin seals were adopted to educate visitors on the religious significance of the Ryukyu-Dynasty sites while adding new tourism content for the pandemic times.


Okinogu shrine, one of the eight Ryukyu shrines, and OTS MICE MANAGEMENT (OMM), an affiliate company of Okinawa Tourist Service Inc., jointly produced the goshuin seals.


Seven places of worship  in Shuri are now issuing goshuin seals: (1) Enkaku-ji, (2) Bezai-tendo, (3) Sonohyan-Utaki, (4) Ryuhi, (5) Suimui-kan, (6) Kyo no Uchi, and (7) Akata-ujou no Utaki. The goshuin seals include the Okinogu Shrine stamp with a handwritten inscription of the site name, accompanied by artist Seiko Shinjo’s artwork and a didactic poem. The goshuin seals may be purchased at the Suimui-kan shop for 700 yen. A port

On October 26, Ichiro Uechi, chief priest of Okinogu Shrine in Naha City, poses with the goshuin seal of Shuri Castle’s Kyo no Uchi.

ion of the proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit Shuri Machizukuri Kenkyukai (Shuri Town Development Research Association), to give back to the local community.


Ichiro Uechi, the chief priest of the Okinogu Shrine, commented, “The religious aspect of Shuri Cas

tle is often overlooked, but we have always prayed for peace upon Ryukyu. We hope the goshuin seals will help people embark on a journey of prayer and pilgrimage.” Issuance of the goshuin was inspired by the Shuri Dynasty Road pilgrimage (one of the karate pilgrimages organized by the Okinogu Shrine, which is dedicated to the karate gods). Organizers hope to add purpose and appeal to the Shuri Castle experience; OMM President Kunihiro Tamaki said, “I hope residents and tourists alike will get to learn the various facets of Okinawa and Shuri Castle.”


March 31 marked two years since the Shuri Castle fire. Placing focus on “pilgrimage” as the starting point of its journey, the Shuri Castle initiative aims to learn from history and educate on the ancient yet new Shuri Castle.


(English translation by T&CT and Monica Shingaki)



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