Osaka Castle 大阪城
Built by the "Napoleon of Japan," imposing Osaka Castle towers over the city
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.
Today, the museum inside the castle documents its rich history, while the surrounding park and green space are a hub for Osakans to jog, cycle and relax.
- 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 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.
Osaka Castle can also be reached on foot from Tanimachi Yonchome Station on the Chuo and Tanimachi Metro lines.
History of Osaka Castle
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 Tokugawas 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 army in 1615, in a siege that resulted in the total annihilation of the Toyotomi clan.
In the Boshin War of 1868, the castle was captured by pro-imperial forces. The new Meiji government demolished the castle and used the grounds for military barracks.
The castle was rebuilt in 1931, but was used as a military arsenal. As a result, it was targeted by American forces during World War II and the rebuilt main tower was destroyed again. The current rebuild was finished in 1997. It is constructed in concrete to the specifications of the original tower, and the interior now contains a museum documenting the castle's tumultuous history.
A green oasis in the city
Osaka Castle is surrounded by 106 hectares of open park, making it a pleasant refuge from the city's more urban areas.
Join the runners 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.
Walk the 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.
Hours and fees
The museum inside the castle is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission is 600 yen for adults and free for children aged 15 and under.
Things to do near Osaka Castle
In addition to Osaka Castle, Nishinomaru Garden and the surrounding park, there are a handful of other attractions in the area. Osakajo Hall is a large concert venue and event space that hosts many international headliners. The Osaka Museum of History gives an in-depth look at the city's past, and the Mint Museum has a number of exhibits on the history of money in Japan.