Watch Shuri Castle Fire Videos: Huge Blaze Rips Through World Heritage Site in Japan, Fast Facts You Need to Know

Shuri Castle Fire

Shuri Castle Fire

There was a great fire in a Japanese castle dating from the fourteenth century.

Shuri Castle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Naha, the capital of Okinawa Prefecture in southern Japan, caught fire around 12 am Thursday morning (3:00 pm Wednesday GMT ).

Police say the main hall and a nearby building have burned down and another building is on fire.

No injuries have been reported so far.

The castle, built about 500 years ago by the Ryukyu dynasty, was designated a national treasure of Japan in 1933.

It burned to the ground during World War II.

The main hall was restored in 1992 and served as a banquet venue for the leaders who attended the Group of Eight summit.

The remains of the original castle have also been designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, along with the ruins of other castles of the Ryukyu Kingdom in Okinawa.

Firefighters, accompanied by a dozen fire trucks, were called to the emergency at 2.40 a.m. local time and they are still fighting the fire when Japan approaches dawn.

They have not yet reported if anyone was injured in the disaster.

Shuri Castle is divided into five separate buildings with the Seiden, the main and largest building, in the center. According to the local broadcaster NHK, it is the Seiden where the fire began and has now spread to other buildings in the complex.

Police have said the fire almost completely destroyed Seiden’s main building and the north room, known as Hokuden.

The upper part of the main hall collapsed before 5am.

A district of Naha City today, Shuri was the political and administrative center of the Ryuku Kingdom for almost 400 years.

Fast Facts You Need to Know

  • The flames engulfed Shuri Castle in Naha, the capital of Okinawa Prefecture  
  • Firefighters called to the smoke sighting at 2.40 am local time, couldn’t stop the blaze
  • Castle has been burnt down before in 1945 during the Battle of Okinawa  
  • The Japanese army had based under the castle and allies shelled it for 3 days