Things to See in Osaka: Osaka Castle
After a few days in Kyoto it was time to move on to Osaka. Using Hyperdia you can plan your journey to Osaka. The trip on the JR Special Service takes about 28 minutes and there are trains to Osaka about every 5-10 minutes so don’t be too concerned with when you need to be at the station.
For Osaka we stayed in an AirBNB Apartment located just outside the Temmabashi underground station, and only a short walk from Osaka Castle.
Osaka is Japan’s second largest metropolitan area after Tokyo. It was the main economic centre of the Kansai Region for many years. It was also home to Toyotomi Hideyoshi during the 16th century.
Osaka Castle (Osakajo)
Osaka Castle is one of Japan’s most recognised monuments (I know that is pretty much what I say about every place in Japan – but you get the point). Construction first started in 1583 on the former site of the Honganji Temple. Built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi who was an imposing ruler during the years 1582 and 1592 when he was succeeded by Tokugawa Ieyasu.
The grounds of Osaka Castle cover an area of approximately 61,000 square meters (15 acres) and contain thirteen structures all designated as important cultural assets by the Japanese government.
The castle has been built and restored many times over its lifetime. From as early as the 1600’s it was attacked and parts destroyed. Later in the 1600s it was rebuilt and reinforced before being damaged again. The castle was also heavily damaged during World War II when 90% of the Osaka Arsenal was killed at the Castle.
Thankfully the modern Castle you visit was completed in 1997 and includes evelators that make it so much easier to get to the various floors of the main tower.
The interior of the main tower of the castle consists of eight floors devoted to many exhibits describing Hideyoshi Toyotomi and his era complete with many objects and diagrams of the era.
On the eighth floor is an observatory which affords one of the best views of Osaka and also of the green garden foregrounds.
The castle is surrounded by secondary citidels, gates, turrets, impressive stone walls and moats. The main garden around the western area is the Nishinomaru Garden which is full of cherry trees and is an amazing place to wander and explore the different perspectives of the castle.
Any of you who might have also read the amazing Japanese historical fiction novel Shogun by James Clavell will remember Osaka Castle as the place where many great events in the novel take place. I did read Shogun prior to my trip to Japan, at over 1,700 pages it is certainly an epic novel that will get you really into the era of the Shoguns and especially Tokugawa Ieyasu (in the book Yoshi Toranaga).
Osaka Castle is open 9:00am to 5:00pm each day (only closed December 28 to January 1). Admission is 600 Yen but very worthwhile to learn about this amazing castle and the history of the region. For more details about Osaka Castle check out their official website.
We ended up spending four nights in Osaka so I tried to split the posts up as best as I could. We couldn’t get into our AirBNB till later in the afternoon so it worked out well to spend out time exploring the castle.
Have you been to Osaka? Please feel free to share you thoughts below by leaving a comment – I really do love to hear what you thought. Osaka is an amazing city. We really only just got to explore the basics in four nights.
Thanks as always to those of you who have read my blog. This page really started as a way to share my travel notes with friends and family and I am really so proud that so many people have read my posts over the years. I would love it if you shared this post, Liked it, followed my page. I also love to hear from my readers, so don’t be afraid to leave a comment.
Thanks again and see you tomorrow.