Osaka Castle, Osaka
Osaka Jo (Osaka Castle) is a stunning re-construction dating from 1959. Set in an extensive park (populated by some of Osaka's homeless), it is well worth a visit.
The park is most popular on the weekend and during cherry bossom season in March, when countless hanami (cherry blosssom viewing) parties take place.
The castle is illuminated at night and is particularly photogenic at this time although I don't recommend walking alone through the park at night (it's probably quite safe but it is one of the more dodgy areas of the city so I advise a bit of caution).
The castle contains a museum, but is disappointing for those expecting an authentic interior, and it is apparent that a lot more effort went in to the exterior. Despite this there are some interesting displays and the view from the top floor is good.
Admission to the park is free. Entering the castle costs 700 yen.
The castle of Osaka has a long history but the palace that you see there today is quite a modern replica dating back to 1959, it even has a lift inside.Dont miss to take a look into the museum of Osaka castle / palace. The entrancefee was 600 YEN. My favorite part of the castle was the terrace on top of the building, see my next tip for sme photos from there !
In my 4th photo: the signal-gun or noon-marker of Osaka castle, you will see it next to the entrancegate to the museum.
Unfortunately you are not allowed to take any photos or videos inside the castle and museum of Osaka, but at least you can do so on top of the castle, on a large terrace going into all directions. That way you will see some of the great decorations of the palace, the fish for instance are ment in order to keep away fire from the building. My 2nd and last photos are showing some great decorations of the corners of the fence of that terrace.
Osaka Castle as you can see in the photos I posted here has a beauty of its own and one of the famous castles in Japan.
I would recommend that when you visit the castle, do it during festival season. Also, the best time to see cherry blossoms is in the early month of April. Large numbers of cherry trees are all around the public park. From the outside, you have the chance to witness a spectacular view of the castle surrounded by beautiful colours of the blossoms.
Osaka Castle is open from 9:00AM to 5:00PM daily but closed at the beginning and end of the year. As of this writing, the general admission is 600 Yen.
Once you have entered or at the entrance of the Osaka Castle ground, you will be guided with my posted photos of the map and direction of the Osaka Castle. By starting off from this point, you will have a smooth and more enjoyable tour of this famous castle and park.
You can make use of these map and direction and have a pleasant tour.
The first thing to say about Osaka Castle is that it is not as old as it looks to be when you first see it. This is a concrete 1930s copy of the first Osaka Castle, which was built in 1585 by Hideyoshi Toyotomi. This was considered the finest in the country and was a powerful symbol of Hideyoshi’s supremacy – it was he who brought an end to the wars of over a century, thus unifying the nation. He was succeeded by his son, Hideyori Toyotomi but the latter was challenged by Ieyasu Tokugawa (Hideyoshi’s former retainer) who, in 1615, vanquished the Toyotomi family and destroyed Osaka Castle. Tokugawa moved the shogunate government to Edo (present-day Tokyo).
In 1620 the castle was rebuilt by the Tokugawa shogunate who held it until 1868, although the main tower was struck by lightning three years before that and destroyed in the ensuing fire. The remaining structures were also destroyed in the battle between the Tokugawa shogunate and the New Government Army. Under the Meiji Restoration the castle precincts were requisitioned and in 1931 the main tower was reconstructed according to the original 16th century design, as it had been under Hideyoshi Toyotomi. It was used as a military base and arsenal, and during World War Two 60,000 workers were employed in the armouries here. It was targeted repeatedly in the bombing raids and badly damaged, with a particularly bad attack on August 14, 1945 destroying 90% of the arsenal and killing 382 people working there.
The main tower was fully repaired in the 1990s, and despite being now made of concrete, externally retains its historic appearance, although inside there are modern touches such as lifts (very helpful in making the eight storey building accessible to all). Meanwhile the 1620s external walls came through these various disasters relatively unscathed and are still today pretty much intact, made out of interlocked granite boulders without mortar.
You can enter the castle precincts without charge and wander the grounds, from where you can get some good photos of the dramatic castle perched high above. To enter the main tower you must pay a fee of 600¥ (adults, October 2013 price). Once inside you are directed to the lifts and must start your visit on the top floor, working your way down by the stairs (though anyone with walking difficulties can ask to use the lifts to descend as well).
The first thing you will want to do on arriving on the top floor is to get outside! You can walk all round the tower and get some great views over Osaka, and also an excellent close-up look at some of the detailing on the castle tower itself, including the gilded shachihoko, sometimes also called orcs – a mythical creature, a fish with the head of a tiger (see photo three).
Once you have seen your fill of the view you can start to explore the museum, which has a comprehensive collection. On the top-most (seventh) floor, dioramas tell the story of Hideyoshi Toyotomi’s life, and on the fifth there are miniature models of the Summer War of Osaka (in which the castle fell and the reign of the Toyotomi family came to an end) and a folding screen telling the story of the battles fought.
On the fourth and third floors you find various artefacts and models of the castle during different periods. These are the only floors where photography is not allowed – I imagine that they might be concerned at flash damaging some of the more delicate objects. The “stars” of the second floor displays are the full size replicas of one of those golden shachihoko and a fusetora (crouching tiger). There is also an area where you can dress up in a kimono, wear a helmet or try on some armour (all replicas, naturally) and have your photo taken for a small fee as a souvenir of your visit. Note that this is the only floor with toilets – a bit of a drawback when you have to work your way downwards from the top in order!
Once we had finished exploring all of this we were hot and a bit weary, so we were very happy to spot ice creams on sale at one of several refreshment booths in the grounds (not far from the tower entrance). We enjoyed a tasty mango soft scoop cone (chocolate, vanilla and green tea also available) and a chat with an elderly local who stopped while cycling through the park, keen to practise his English and find out what we had been enjoying in Japan – a pleasant way to while away the last part of our visit here.
Next tip: the wonderful Osaka Aquarium
There are some nice castle-gardens around the palace of Osaka, unfortunately it was raining a bit, so I did not really enjoy it a lot. It also was during the wintertime, but the small park-train was running anyway. In some of my booklets I could read that homeless people are living in that park, but I did not see any of them.
A special technique was used in order to set togeather the stones of the walls of the palace in Osaka. There are several walls and the first such all is surrounded by a moat. You have to walk through several gates untill you will finally get to the castle of Osaka.
You are visiting the Osaka Castle to see the famous and historical architecture. Moreover, you will definitely be enjoying the natural beauty of its surrounding parks and gardens. They compliment each other.
Osaka Castle looks amazing during the cherry blossom season. When we talk about cherry blossom, it is Japan that comes to our mind. It becomes the symbol of this country. During this time of the year, visitors flock to the castle's ground to picnic and enjoy their life to the fullest.
Come to Japan in the month of April and I can assure you will appreciate the combination of the castle and the cherry blossoms.
Nijo Castle has a unique feature in it's "nightengale" floors. Outside of the main rooms, the halls are a special type of floor that when walked upon chirp like a nightengale bird. Thus, the inhabitants were alerted when an undesirable was sneaking up on them at night!
Osaka Castle was originally commissioned by Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1684 but was later destroyed by the Tokugawa. The current reconstruction was built in the 1930s and updated in 1997. Although it is a reconstruction, the castle walls and moat are well-preserved and the inside contains a lot of information about Toyotomi Hideyoshi, as well as some artifacts. It also has an excellent view from the top of the surrounding park and city. The castle is also nice to look at from the outside with its unique green tiles.
Entrance is 600 yen, but it is free to roam around the park.
The constrution of Osaka Castle started in 1583 by the order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It was destroyed and rebuilt many times. In 1931 the present reconstruction of the castle tower was built and it survived the war surprisingly. In 1997 major repair works have been done. Now the castle tower is entirely modern inside hosting a museum giving amazing details about its history. The castle tower is surrounded by secondary citadels, moats and gates. The whole Osaka Castle Park is about 2 square kilometers with lots of green area, sport facilities, a multi purpose arena and Hokoku Shrine dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. In early April, the park becomes a popular spot for cherry blossom viewing. Admission fee is 600 JPY for the castle tower and the museum can be visited from 9 am to 5 pm.
Osaka Castle is situated in a large park and is really impressive. A totally different from any european-style castle but still you notice this is quite a fort. You have to pass several walls and gates before you reach the grounds of the castle itself.
The castles history began in 1496. There were several rulers, and it changed shape many times. In 1868 most of the buildings were burnt down. In 1931 the castle was reconstructed and in 1948 it became a historical sites park.
Inside the castle is a museum, where you can see the history of Osaka castle.
Opening times: 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
( Last admission is at 4:30pm.)
Adults 600Yen , Children Free
On the castle grounds a time capsule is buried. The capsule was made during the 1970 EXPO. The thought is that the top part of this capsule will be opened every century, but the bottom must not be opened in 5000 years, which makes it 6970. We will not be around by then so we searched the internet for info, what is in there?
Here is what we found:
There are 2098 cultural assests of the 20th century in there.
Everything from the sacred to the profane is represented in the 2,008 objects (pictured left) enclosed: a silk condom, false teeth, a glass eye, insects encased in resin, an origami instruction book, pamphlets on how to brew sake, handcuffs, counterfeit money, a string of fake pearls, and that essential part of 20th Century life—a "micro-mini" television set.
If you want to read more about it, here is where we found it: http://www.retrofuture.com/timecapsule.html