Se-fa Utaki breaks visitor record during Golden Week

One of the most important holy places of the Ryukyu Kingdom, “Se-fa Utaki” in Nanjo City, counted the highest number of visitors in one day on May 4 when 3,146 people visited the site.

May 4 is a national holiday in Japan called “Midori-no Hi” or “Green Day,” and one of a string of national holidays commonly known as the Golden Week.

The “Se-fa Utaki” is now one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in Okinawa. It’s one of the so called “Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Ryukyu Kingdom,” and was registered as a World Heritage Site in 2000. Before, it attracted almost 30,000 visitors a year.

Then in 2006, four towns and villages were merged into Nanjo City, and a museum was built adjacent to the site to study the Se-fa Utaki, and other aspects of the culture and history of Nanjo City.

After the facility was built, the number of visitors soared to 142,157 in 2007, increasing to 438,157 in 2012. Last year May 4, also the “Midori-no Hi” holiday set the record at 3,013, and this year set again a new record at 3,146.

A staff member at the facility said a combination of Okinawa Prefecture’s tourism promotion and a good weather brings such a high numbers of tourists, although he added that more than 3,000 visitors in one day is rare.

Keisyun Koja the mayor of Nanjo City, promotes the facility and the public land just next to the site where a spring ceremony called “Uro-ka” scheduled to be held soon. That could attract even more people to the site.