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.
It is a rather imposing structure with gold and black decorations. The gold reflecting in the sun is capable of blinding you.
However, the original castle has actually been destroyed and what stands now is a reconstruction.
Osaka-jo (Osaka castle) is located fairly centrally in the city, surrounded by parkland. On Sundays the place gets pretty crowded. The entrance ticket is JPY700 and that entitles you to walk around the Nishinomaru Garden. A cheaper ticket can be purchased if you just want to go inside the castle.
The castle dates back to 1959.
I visited here again in 2007, without going inside the castle this time. It was a much brighter day than when I visited in 2004. I took a lot of photos outside the castle and in the surrounding parklands and gardens. One interesting sight that I didn't remember looking at last time was the giant "Takoisi" stone set into the castle's bailey wall just inside the Sakuramon Gate. This single piece of rock is huge and is hard to believe how it could have been moved into position. It has a surface area of 60 square metres and weighs 130 tonnes! It is quite an amazing sight, so keep an eye out for it.
Himeji Castle was very nice and I'm glad we didn't miss it. On our last day we bought the JR Subway all day pass for 2,000 yen. We boarded the JR sub at Kyoto. Took 30 minutes to get to Osaka. From Osaka, it took another 1 hour to get to Himeji. A 15 minute walk from the station took us to the Castle Entrance. Entrance fee was 600 Yen.
Very steep steps inside. Lot's of history displayed inside and great view from the top.
Imabari Castle is in the city of Imabari, Ehime Prefecture on the Island of Shokaku. It is a beautiful medieval castle. It is unique in that it is situated in flat land on the beach (sort of) and not on a hill. Most Japanese castles (and, indeed, most European castles) were built on hilltops for defensive purposes. Imabari castle's moat is sea water redirected from the Seto Inland sea. The inside of the castle holds a good museum, and the top of the castle gives an incredible view of the islands and bridges of the Seto Inland Sea.
The castle has been destroyed and rebuilt numerous time since 1586 but the parts that can be visited are beautiful. The main donjon dates from 1931 and the walls around the castle gives an idea of how big the domain was.
The interior of the castle has multiple levels with different showcase explaining the history of the Hideyoshi.
See my travelogue for more pictures of the castle (outside and inside)
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
This castle in the middle of the city is one of Japan's top spots for visitors from within Japan. Full of history, architecture, landscape & museum attributes, in the middle of a population of over 3 million, it's amazing to visit & feel as though you're walking through a mediaeval countryside.
(For more details, see my travelogue on OsakaJo).
Osaka Castle is deep-rooted in the minds of citizens of Osaka as the symbol of Osaka. 400 years have passed since the foundation of Osaka Castle by Hideyoshi Toyotomi. The existing Osaka Castle, however, was reconstructed by the Tokugawa Shogunate. There remains no single piece of stone wall from the Toyotomi period.
Osaka castle was a bit of a letdown...
Looks great from the outside, and the surrounding park is beautiful in the spring when all the blossoms are going off, but... the castle interior is completely rebuilt and modernized/unoriginal.
Ok to visit to see the museum, I guess.
Or to take pictures outside during spring.
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 Osaka Castle which I understand is about 500 years old is probably the most interesting land mark in Osaka and probably the most visited place by the tourists here. It is a large facility by the water and content museum and other interested site within.
Osaka Castle was originally built in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It was renovated in 1620 by Tokugawa who had won the castle in a battle. In 1665 the castle was burned to the ground when it was struck by lightening and wasn't rebuilt until modern times.
I wasn't very impressed by Osaka Castle itself but I enjoyed walking in the large castle grounds. The castle is quite small in comparison to many other Japanese Castles. If you are planning a trip to Kansai region and like castles then I recommend that you also visit Himeji Castle in Himeji City about 1 hour from Osaka by train.
See my Himeji Page for details!
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
The present reconstruction of the main donjon, dating from 1931, is smaller than the castle completed by Hideyoshi in 1586 but still gives some idea of the power and majesty of the original. The largest castle in the country at the time, Osaka-jo's turbulent history began when it was besiefed and destroyed by the Tokugawa shogunate in 1615. The castle was rebuilt but strucj by lightning for a few years later. The remains were burned down in a fire in 1868, just before the Meiji Restoration.
Some ancillary buildingds, including the Tamon tower and the impressive Otemon gate have survived from the Tokugawa period. The modernized lower floors of the main keep display a collection of amor and memorabilia connected with Hideyoshi, including his letters.