OSAKA CASTLE

by - 12:50 AM


Any minute a heavy downpour of rain shall take place considering the overcast skies.  The castle grounds foliage were starting to turn into hues of red, yellow and orange with the sounds of the crow dominantly heard of.  At a distance and on a quite high elevation, an imposing structure of a white castle reveals itself.

Playing a major role in the unification of Japan in the 16th century, this white castle – landmark of Osaka, Japan – is definitely a must destination in every traveler’s itinerary.  Without much hype and thoughts, it is named the Osaka Castle.


The façade of the castle appeared to me like traditional artifacts and interiors are on display and that a wooden grand staircase awaits each guest.  A picture of an elegant castle and palace of the olden times with a spacious banquet, I said to myself. But my imagination was shattered when I saw the elevator and the commercial spaces built in it.  And that was the ground floor of the castle. 

Despite the modern facilities of the castle, its construction and existence has witnessed the rich ancient history of Japan.  The castle is in fact an informative museum of its history and showcasing the life and works of Toyotomi Hideyoshi as well in a form of dioramas.  Note that taking photos is strictly prohibited.


But who is Hideyoshi?  I’ve made a few readings and this might be of help for the curious minds and Asian history fanatics:

“Toyotomi Hideyoshi built Osaka-jo in 1583.  Hideyoshi, being the great battle expert he was, designed the most forbidable castle ever built in Japan.  One large moat surrounded the whole castle with only two ways across it.  One of those was a small bridge that could easily be defended or even destroyed if necessary.  The inner grounds which contained the large main keep were actually built 3 levels above the water level of the moat.  Any attacker would have to scale three high stone walls and climb over 3 sets of turrets to get to the inner grounds.
No castle is invincible and in 1615 it fell to the Tokugawa forces.  Hideyoshi’s heir, Hideyori, committed suicide before being captured.  Tokugawa completely renovated the entire castle and built a new main keep making the whole castle even bigger and grander than Hideyoshi’s original.  In 1665, the main keep was struck by lightning and burned to the ground.  It was never rebuilt.”

The Castle tower opens at 9AM and closes at 530PM with an admission fee of 600 Yen.  Apart from the museum housed in the castle, the rooftop/observation deck is the best vantage to view the city’s skyline and skyscrapers.  Without having to walk for miles too much or spend for transportation costs, I felt I have seen what Osaka has to offer (eagles-eye perspective).

at the observatory deck

roof top details

the Osaka Museum of History

skyscrapers of Osaka
For most who go direct to the main castle tower without checking on the vast compound that surrounds, disappointment is a possibility that awaits them.  In my case, though my expectations were not met of the castle per se, I still enjoyed the visit and the traces of the ancient history of Japan can still be deciphered with the stone walls that surround the castle tower adding charm and mystery to its existence.  The stone walls, entrance gate, moats and the turrets are regarded as important cultural properties by the National Government.





The vast Osaka Castle Park is perfect for people-watching and holding picnics.  Fortunately, before the heavy downpour of rain, we were given the chance to sit, eat and relax on the benches fronting the castle, after the castle tower tour.  The cherry blossom season as they say is the best season to visit the park.  But autumn is equally scenic though  I might have to revisit for the said season.



As we end the loitering at the castle grounds and walked towards the JR station, there was a heavy downpour of rain as expected.   



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2 comments

  1. Sustainable development at its best. The old and new harmoniously combined in Japan. Awesome photos Atty. :)

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  2. parang kahit saan ka tumingin png postcard ah

    ReplyDelete