Osaka Castle, or “Osaka-jo” in Japanese, is one of Japan’s most famous landmarks. This five-story castle is one of the most visually spectacular creations in the country, with a history that dates back almost 450 years.
In 1583, renowned general Toyotomi Hideyoshi, dubbed the “Napoleon of Japan,” began building of Osaka Castle, which would serve as the center of a unified Japan under the Toyotomi clan’s control. Hideyoshi, who was obsessed with gold, requested that it be used to decorate most of the castle’s interior, and this motif can still be seen on the external awnings. Tokugawa Ieyasu, Hideyoshi’s military opponent, destroyed Toyotomi troops at the epic Battle of Sekigahara in 1600, two years after Hideyoshi’s death. The Tokugawa gained complete control of Japan as a result of their victorious victory. In 1615, the Tokugawa army besieged Osaka Castle, resulting in the Toyotomi clan’s complete extinction.
The castle has been demolished, reconstructed, and rebuilt several times since then. The current reconstruction was completed in 1997. It was built in concrete to the old tower’s specs, and the interior now houses a museum detailing the castle’s turbulent history.
Osaka Castle is encircled by a 106-hectare park, providing a lovely respite from the city’s more densely populated sections. Green space, sports facilities, a multi-purpose arena (Osakajo Hall), and a shrine dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi may all be found in the park. During the cherry blossom season, which begins in early April, the park is one of Osaka’s most popular hanami destinations.
Visitors to Osaka Castle can pay a modest charge to enter the castle, which now houses a historical museum. A large array of objects depicting the extensive history of Osaka and the castle itself can be found on each floor of the castle. While not all of the information about the artefacts is available in English, there are booklets that explain many of the displays. Visitors can enjoy a spectacular view of the surrounding districts from the top floor, which includes parks and cityscapes.