3 years on, rebuilding of Shuri Castle to come into full swing

Courtesy of the Okinawa General Bureau, the Cabinet Office
Shuri Castle Park is seen on Aug. 28.

NAHA, Okinawa Pref., Oct. 31 (Jiji Press) — Three years have passed since the massive fire hit Okinawa Prefecture’s Shuri Castle, and the work to rebuild the castle’s Seiden main building is set to come into full swing, with its groundbreaking ceremony scheduled for Thursday.

The new Seiden building, which will introduce latest fire prevention equipment, is planned to be completed in autumn 2026.

By making public the process of rebuilding the landmark castle in Naha, Okinawa, the central and Okinawa governments are hoping to help revitalize tourism in the southernmost Japan prefecture, which was seriously damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. An observation deck that offers a view of the construction site will be set up.

Ahead of the groundbreaking ceremony, lumbers to be used in the Seiden building left the village of Kunigami in northern Okinawa, where they were produced. Many people gathered to see a parade that was held when the lumbers were transported.

The work to rebuild the Seiden building, which was completely destroyed by the fire, will be led by the central government.

According to the Cabinet Office, the rebuilding costs will total around ¥12 billion, way exceeding some ¥3.3 billion spent to construct the previous building during the 1989-2019 Heisei era. The increase reflects expenses to reinforce fire prevention measures and higher lumber procurement costs.

Donations that have been given to the Okinawa prefectural government and others for the reconstruction of Shuri Castle since immediately after the fire hit the UNESCO World Heritage site on Oct. 31, 2019 reached some ¥5.6 billion as of the end of September. The prefectural government plans to use the donations to procure lumbers for the Seiden building, to produce about 55,000 red tiles and to restore sculptured works that have been damaged by the fire.