Osaka Castle is a must-visit for its breathtaking beauty and historical significance.
In this guide, I’ll show you how to get to Osaka Castle by train, making your journey effortless.
I’ve also included stunning photos from our visit to showcase its beauty up close.
This place is great for your Osaka trip. I’m excited to show you around. Ready? Let’s go explore! 🙂
Osaka Castle: A Journey Through Japan’s History
1. A Timeless Legacy
Osaka Castle was constructed during the 15th century, making it one of the country’s most famous and oldest landmarks.
Its long-running history influenced Japan’s culture for many years. In the 1950s, the Japanese Government made it a historic site to recognize its cultural significance.
2. The Castle’s Role in Japanese History
The castle contributed to many key events in Japanese history. One remarkable role of the castle occurred during the Azuchi-Momoyama era. In this period, it helped in the unification of the country.
3. Impressive Architectural Feats
Apart from the castle’s history, its architectural beauty is also a charm. It features a series of formidable stone walls that stand 20 meters tall and 90 meters wide.
During its construction, over 1 million stones of around 12 kilograms were used.
Castle Grounds: Touring the Park and Historic Sites
1. Castle in a Park
Osaka Castle is situated within a very expansive park that was opened back in 1931. Explore the castle grounds and enjoy nature while learning more about its history.
2. Inner Bailey (Hommaru): A Place of Culture and Gardens
The inner bailey contains plenty of beautiful sections. It has a stunning Japanese-style garden with a lovely pond. There’s also a special spot in the area they refer to as the Marked Stones Square.
While strolling around, you’ll come across a museum that showcases the history of the place. This is where you’ll see the Kinzo Treasure House and the Sakuramon Gate.
3. Outer Bailey (Ninomaru): Surrounded by Water
Another key part of the castle ground is the outer bailey. If you look at the map closely, a waterway encloses the exterior section.
There are also several tall towers around, including the Ichiban-yagura and the Rokubanyagura.
Inside Osaka Castle: Exploring History and Breathtaking Views
1. Historical Museum
Enter the historical museum to gain more knowledge about the castle.
You’ll also find several artifacts inside, including the Shachihoko. The replica is one of the many ornaments displayed in the Osaka Castle.
The Shachihoko is a mythical creature with a tiger’s head and a fish’s body. In ancient times, this creature is said to bring rain and protect buildings from fire.
After seeing Shachihoko, it’s time to uncover the samurai zone. Catch a glimpse of different helmets with intricate designs. Each piece also comes with a unique story.
Another must-watch area is the miniature section. Here, you’ll find a display of realistic samurai figurines. The setup mimics that of an ancient battle, making it very special.
2. Observation Deck
While inside the castle, don’t forget to check out the observation deck. Climb up to this scenic spot with your loved ones and enjoy the splendid scenes from atop.
You’ll be amazed by the breathtaking blend of the city’s skyline and the castle’s historical structures. Plus, the lush scenery of the castle park makes it more striking
Seasonal Beauty: Nature’s Changing Colors
Many people also love to visit the park because of the Sakura or the cherry blossoms.
For this reason, a lot of visitors explore the place in Spring. Others also prefer to visit during autumn, when Koyo or red leaves are abundant. Whatever season you visit, the park is simply breathtaking.
Helpful Tips: Making the Most of Your Visit
- Explore the Grounds and Gardens: The castle is filled with massive gardens and gorgeous sceneries. Take your time to wander around different sections. Head to Nishinomaru Garden to capture some picturesque cherry trees.
- Visit the Castle Museum: Make sure you spend time inside the museum too. This is where you’ll understand more about the castle’s history and see precious artifacts. After your museum tour, go to the top floor for a panoramic view of Osaka.
- Wear Comfortable Shoes: Since the park is extensive, there will be lots of walking involved. So, it’s highly recommended that you wear comfortable footwear during your visit.
- Photography: Don’t forget to bring your camera. With all the majestic views and unique attractions inside, taking pictures is a fun way to capture these beautiful memories.
- Time Allocation: Make the most out of your visit by allocating at least 1 to 2 hours. This is the best time duration to fully appreciate the castle’s charm.
- Pre-Book Tickets: For convenience, pre-book your Osaka Castle tickets online to skip long lines and gain direct access, saving time.
Nishinomaru Garden: A Sakura Paradise
The Nishinomaru Garden is one of the best spots for photography in the park. It’s a picturesque section situated just beside Osaka Castle. Stroll around the area and be fascinated by the majestic views.
As you go on an adventure around the garden, you’ll see a lot of cherry trees. Come springtime, the cherry trees are in full bloom, offering a spectacular backdrop for your photos.
You can also unwind here and enjoy a picnic. Surely, the Nishinomaru Garden is an attractive sanctuary that relaxes your senses. It even makes you appreciate nature even more.
Opening Hours of Nishinomaru Garden:
- March to October: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Last Entry 4:30 PM)
- November to February: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM (Last Entry 4:00 PM)
*During the cherry blossom season, the garden remains open until 8:00 PM
Osaka Castle Map
Practical Info: Plan Your Visit
9:00 AM – 5:00 PM (Last Entry 4:30 PM)
Getting to Osaka Castle: Straightforward Travel Guidance
1. Morinomiya Station (Chuo Line/JR Osaka Loop Line/Nagahori Tsurumi-ryokuchi Line): Take Exit 3A and follow a walking route of about 18 minutes to get to Osaka Castle.
2. Tanimachi Yonchome Station (Tanimachi Line/Chuo Line): Use Exit 9 and proceed on foot for roughly 18 minutes to arrive at Osaka Castle.
3. Osakajo-koen Station (JR Osaka Loop Line): Walk out of the station and continue on foot for 18 minutes to approach the castle.
Cultural Significance: What Osaka Castle Means to Japan
1. Beginnings of Osaka Castle
In 1583, a leader named Hideyoshi Toyotomi started building Osaka Castle. He wanted to use Osaka as his main place to bring Japan together.
The building of the castle took almost 15 years to complete. During the early days, the castle had a golden tower that shined beautifully. It was also much bigger back in the day.
2. Destruction and Reconstruction
By 1615, the Toyotomi family failed, which led to the castle being destroyed. Five years later, the Tokugawa shogunate took power. With the new group ruling the place, the rebuilding of the castle began.
The reconstruction lasted for 10 years. One of the major projects during the restoration was making the castle taller. They also added bigger walls and some waterways for extra protection.
3. Later Damages and Restorations
Another disaster hit the castle by 1665. Lightning burned the main tower and damaged several sections. Centuries later, more parts were damaged due to attacks and natural occurrences.
4. 20th Century Efforts
It was in 1931 when Hajime Seki, former mayor of Osaka, focused on the rebuilding of the castle. People from the area donated for the restoration of the main tower.
At the height of World War II, bombings were prevalent. This resulted in some damage to certain parts of the castle.
After the attack of the war, the rehabilitation started. The damaged towers were fixed and a park was built to surround the castle. Further improvements were made in 1997 to mimic how it looked back in the 19th century.
Osaka Castle is filled with a rich history. It stood the test of time even with the series of damages and restorations. It’s truly an awe-inspiring symbol of the city’s beautiful past.