Shikinaen, constructed at the end of the 18th century, was the second largest residence for the Ryukyu royal families. The main residence of the Ryukyu kings was the Shuri Castle.
The Shikinaen installations were used to entertain royal family members and foreign guests, usually Chinese royal family delegations. The garden combines a unique mixture of Chinese and Japanese architectural design. The arched bridges are chinese style and also the hexagonal pavilion in the middle of the pond. I loved the hexagonal rest area, it kind of made me feel like I was visiting Beijing. On the other hand, the residence buildings are Japanese-Ryukyu style.
It was totally destroyed during the World War II, restored in 1976 and designated as World Heritage by the UNESCO in 2000. It’s worth visiting after the Shuri Castle (Shuri Station), it is a 25 minutes walk from there.
Other beautiful gardens worth visiting in Japan: