Osaka Castle is greatly intertwined with the history of the unification of Japan and like many castles, it has seen seen its fair share of calamity caused by natural disasters and political strife.
Originally built in the late 16th century, Osaka Castle was destroyed as a result of war in the early 17th century. Rebuilt not long after, much of the castle was lost to fire several decades later. Up until the Meiji Restoration (1868), the castle and its outer buildings existed in varying states of disrepair until a reconstruction effort was completed in the 1930s. Unfortunately, WWII and several calamities took their toll, and the entire compound again fell into disrepair.
Finally in 1997, the brilliant concrete reconstruction of Osaka Castle that exists today was completed. Perhaps the most visited site in the city, the castle’s mere presence adds a an unmistakable elegance to its center. There is something incredibly regal about the gold, green and black trimming around the alabaster walls.
The castle and surrounding park are part of a sprawling complex with an inner moat that wraps around the castle and an outer moat that roughly defines the borders of the complex. When viewed from a distance you can really appreciate the massiveness of the multi-leveled walls that form the plateau on which the castle rests.
When you make it to the actual castle you find a structure that it functions as an eight story museum, with each floor telling a different part of its history.
The first floor features an information center, museum shop and a multi-lingual headset rental booth. There is also a movie theater that features short films related to the founder of the castle, Hideyoshi Toyotomi.
On the second floor you will a find information about the general history of the castle, including references on the impact of the end of the feudal era.
The great Daimyo or Lord, Hideyoshi Toyotomi is the main focus of the third floor. There are fantastic displays of suits of armor as well and you can even try one on. Marvel at the transportable opulence of the Golden Tea Room and its gilded vessels.
The fourth floor offers more information on the lord of Osaka Castle and displays authentic items connected to him. There is also a short film on the castle’s history.
The Summer War and the rule of Hideyoshi Toyotomi make up the subject matter of the films on the fifth floor. An intricate model of the war is on display, with an unparalleled attention to detail.
As the sixth floor is not open to the public, the next destination is the seventh floor, where you will find more audiovisuals on the man who is given much of the credit for uniting Japan. There is presentation on the history of the land on which Osaka Castle was constructed. Apparently, there had been a temple fortress on the same spot.
Finally, the eighth floor is the castle lookout point, offering splendid views of the city as well as a close up look at some of the castle’s exterior accents.
Access: From JR Osaka Station, take the JR Osaka Loop Line to JR Osaka-jo Koen Station.
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|Cancellation Date||Up to 21 days prior||20-8 days prior||7-2 days prior||Day prior to start of tour||Day of tour||After start of tour/non-participation with no contact|
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