Osaka Castle

Our first stop of many for this particular day was Osaka Castle, it’s not our first time visiting the castle, but felt we needed to see it again and spend more time exploring the castle and its grounds. To travel around central Osaka, we used a few of the local trains, the first one being to Osaka Station, using our JR Passes we could just jump on and off trains as we pleased, which made the day a lot easier. 

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It was only about a 5-minute walk from the Osaka-ji Koen station to reach the impressive grounds of the castle, so we decided to stop at a nice café first for a coffee and a sandwich…so we were fuelled up for the walking and the day ahead! On approaching the castle, it’s very impressive! As with most castles in Japan they are built high up overlooking their surroundings, with multiple moats surrounding them, for obvious reasons. 

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We walked past the Osaka-jo Hall, around some of the park and over the Gokuraku-bashi Bridge where we could get a close-up view of the amazing castle. Even standing at the base of the castle the views of the city were fantastic! It helped that we were again blest with stunning sunny weather! 

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The Meiji Restoration was a period of great change in Japan which started in 1868. The emperor took back full rule of the country, the National army was created, and the wearing of a Samurai sword was banned by the government. The Samurai rebelled and fought against the new Meiji government, but the new governments army now trained in new western style and technology won within a year. During this period many of the castles in Japan were dismantled or destroyed. 


Today the present structure is a concrete reconstruction built in 1931 and refurbished in 1997 which gave the castle renewed beauty, it’s nonetheless an amazing sight, looming dramatically over the surrounding park and moat. The castles tower is now entirely modern on the inside and containing a museum that displays an excellent collection of art, armour, and day-to-day implements related to the castle, Hideyoshi and Osaka history. An 8th floor observation deck has 360-degree views. 

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This visit we explored more of the castle’s grounds, there was a stunning garden which was clear to see it was designed so the castle was the central to the gardens backdrop. 

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Please find our other Kyoto articles in the 'Osaka' section of the website.

Shin-Osaka station

It was another nice warm sunny morning, so we walked from our hotel to Shin-Osaka station where we were based, we jumped onto a local train on the Tokaido – Sanyo line to Osaka station, which took 4 minutes. Once at Osaka station we then changed platforms and jumped on the Osaka Loop Line to Osaka-jo Koen station, taking 10 minutes. 

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As mentioned, we had already visited the castle before in 2017, though it was straight from getting off the plane, so it was nice to revisit with fresh eyes and notice a few things we had previously missed

Walking over the Osaka Joshin Bridge to enter the castles park and grounds where the castle could be seen elevated on the hill and dominating the view…it was clear to see why the castle was built in such a location. 


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Osaka Castles construction started in 1583 on the former site of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple, which had been destroyed by Oda Nobunaga thirteen years earlier. After unifying Japan in the late 16th century, General Toyotomi Hideyoshi built this castle as a display of power, using it is said the labour of 100,000 workers. The castle was the largest of its time and was intended to become the centre of a new unified Japan. 

The castles original granite structure was said to be impregnable, yet it was destroyed in 1614 by the armies of Tokugawa Leyasu after the death of Hideoyoshi and the Toyotomi lineage.  It was then rebuilt some 15 years later, but its main tower was said have been struck by lightning and burnt down in 1665. The remaining castle was then destroyed again when another generation of the Tokugawa clan refused to surrender the castle to the forces of the Meji Restoration in 1868. 


The main castle is surrounded by secondary fortress, gates, moats, and impressive stone walls. The former western citadel now known as the Nishinomaru Garden has wonderful views of the castle from below and now consists of a lawned garden park area with 600 cherry trees, a tea house and the former Osaka guest house. The castle and park are at their colourful best in the cherry blossom and autumn foliage seasons.

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We spent some time walking around the stunning grounds…and at one point we were approached by some school children and their teachers who were on a school field trip to try and interview westerners (or foreigners as they call us) so they could practice their English. As there were none around, I think apart from an American couple, so we were easy targets! The teacher asked us if we were English, so it was great to practice some of our Japanese and reply where we were from. In turn the children told us their names, so we took the opportunity to practice and replied in our Japanese what our names were. They then asked us in English where our best place was in Japan and what food we liked, in turn they each told us what Japanese food they each liked. We then had our pictures taken with them all. So, we’ll no doubt be on an Osaka School display board somewhere! They also give us origami gifts that they had made to take home with us, which was really nice. 

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