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Regions of Japan

Hokkaido Tohoku Hokuriku
Shinetsu
Kanto Tokai Kansai Chugoku Shikoku Kyushu Okinawa Islands SAPPORO TOKYO NAGOYA OSAKA FUKUOKA FURANO KUSHIRO AOMORI SENDAI FUKUSHIMA NIKKO HAKONE SADO TAKAYAMA KANAZAWA ISE KYOTO NARA HIROSHIMA NAGASAKI KAGOSHIMA NAHA
Hokkaido
Hokkaido
  • Hokkaido
Sub-zero temperatures and the greatest of outdoor environments, complemented by sizzling soul food and warm-hearted welcomes. Japan's great white north offers wild, white winters and bountiful summers—a haven for dedicated foodies, nature lovers and outdoor adventure fans seeking an adrenaline rush
Tohoku
Tohoku
  • Aomori
  • Akita
  • Iwate
  • Yamagata
  • Miyagi
  • Fukushima
Sleek apple-red and electric-green shinkansen whisk you up to a haven of fresh powder snow, fresh fruit and fearsome folk legends Fearsome festivals, fresh powder and vast fruit orchards—the rugged northern territory of Tohoku offers a fresh perspective on travel in Japan
Hokuriku Shinetsu
Hokuriku Shinetsu
  • Niigata
  • Toyama
  • Ishikawa
  • Fukui
  • Nagano
Mountains and sea meet in one of Japan's wildest regions, and the result is sheer beauty. Once largely inaccessible, Hokuriku is now reachable by shinkansen from Tokyo in a matter of hours An easily accessible slice of rural Japan offering unrivaled mountainscapes and coastlines, endless outdoor adventure and amazing ocean fare
Kanto
Kanto
  • Tokyo
  • Kanagawa
  • Chiba
  • Saitama
  • Ibaraki
  • Tochigi
  • Gunma
Characterized by the constant buzz of the world's most populous metropolitan area, the Kanto region is surprisingly green with an array of escapes that include mountainous getaways and subtropical islands Experience diversity at its fullest, from the neon of Tokyo to the ski slopes of Gunma, exotic wildlife of the Ogasawara Islands and cultural heritage of Kamakura
Tokai
Tokai
  • Yamanashi
  • Shizuoka
  • Gifu
  • Aichi
  • Mie
Served by the shinkansen line that connects Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka, the Tokai region provides plenty of interesting diversions and easy excursions Tokai means "eastern sea," and this region stretches east from Tokyo to Kyoto and includes blockbuster attractions such as Mt. Fuji and Takayama
Kansai
Kansai
  • Kyoto
  • Osaka
  • Shiga
  • Hyogo
  • Nara
  • Wakayama
From raucous nights out to outdoor thrills to peaceful reverie, trying to categorize the Kansai region is a futile task The Kansai region is one of extreme contrasts—the neon lights of Osaka and glittering Kobe nightscape, the peaceful realms of Shiga, Wakayama and Nara, and the cultured refinement of Kyoto
Chugoku
Chugoku
  • Tottori
  • Shimane
  • Okayama
  • Hiroshima
  • Yamaguchi
Less-traveled and delightfully inaccessible at times, the Chugoku region is a reminder that the journey is sometimes more important than the destination Welcome to Japan's warm and friendly western frontier, where the weather is warmer and the pace of life is slower
Shikoku
Shikoku
  • Tokushima
  • Kagawa
  • Ehime
  • Kochi
Providing the stage for literary classics, fevered dancing and natural wonders Island-hopping, cycling, soul-warming spiritual strolling and red-hot dancing—the island of Shikoku gets you up and moving
Kyushu
Kyushu
  • Fukuoka
  • Saga
  • Nagasaki
  • Oita
  • Kumamoto
  • Miyazaki
  • Kagoshima
Easily reached by land, sea and air, the dynamic Kyushu prefectures are bubbling with energy, culture and activity The southern island of Kyushu is home to volcanoes ranging from sleepy to smoky, succulent seafood, steaming hot springs and the country's hottest entrepreneurial town
Okinawa
Okinawa
  • Okinawa
Ruins and recreated castles of the Ryukyu kings nestle amid magnificent beaches in Okinawa, a diver's paradise teeming with an amazing array of coral and undersea life Fly to Okinawa and discover a distinct island culture born of subtropical sun, white sand, coral, mangrove jungles and the age of the Ryukyu Kings

History

Osaka Castle 大阪城

The massive castle that the Napoleon of Japan built

The majesty of Osaka Castle, arguably Osaka's most prominent landmark, belies bloody power struggles leading up to the 1603 foundation of the Edo era. While its history dates back to 1583, the landmark main tower that is the castle's icon was only re-constructed in 1931.

Tips

  • The commanding view of Osaka Castle from the exquisite Nishinomaru Garden
  • Having a picnic in the cherry and plum groves
  • Playing frisbee on the manicured lawns, or going for a run

How to Get There

From Osaka/Umeda Station, take the Osaka Loop Line to Morinomiya Station, which will bring you to the southeast side of the park.

Alternatively, you may choose to alight at Osakajokoen Station, to the northeast side of the park.

Warring samurai

Famed general Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who has been described as the Napoleon of Japan, began the construction of Osaka Castle in 1583. The castle, which was the largest in Japan at the time, was to be the center of a unified Japan under the rule of the Toyotomi clan.

Two years after Hideyoshi's death in 1598, however, his military rival Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated Toyotomi troops in the great Battle of Sekigahara in 1600.

The decisive victory gave the Tokugawa full control of the whole of Japan, leading to the start of the Tokugawa Shogunate and the Edo period in 1603.

Osaka Castle fell to the Tokugawa's army in 1615, in a siege that resulted in the total annihilation of the Toyotomi clan.

Walk the hallowed grounds

Osaka Castle sits on a hill and towers above many contemporary office buildings. It is surrounded by a huge park with pleasant picnic areas, making it a perennial favorite in spring during the hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season.

For a panoramic view of the city skyline, climb the stairs or take the elevator up to the observation deck at the top of the castle.

The castle also houses a museum with over 10,000 historical artifacts, which will give you a deeper insight into the prominent role Osaka played in Japan's history.

A green oasis in the city

Osaka Castle is surrounded by 106 hectares of open park, making it a pleasant refuge from the urban concrete jungle.

Join the runners on their run around the outer moat, or take part in amateur sports at the playing fields on the northeast side of the park.

With an abundance of cherry, apricot and plum trees, the diverse flora promises beautiful displays in both spring and fall.

Planning your schedule

Exploring Osaka Castle and its surrounding park may take anywhere from two to four hours. Consider combining your visit with a trip to the neighboring Osaka Museum of History.