Translated by Jelena Kitamura
Everything You Need To Know About Osaka Castle, The Symbol Of Osaka!
Written by Sawada Tomomi
Osaka Castle, one of the most famous spots in Osaka, is a place enjoyable year-round by travelers and locals alike. This article introduces how to get to Osaka Castle, admission costs, Osaka Castle Park, and things to do nearby. Make the most of a visit to this iconic castle!
Osaka Castle – the One Place You Don’t Want to Miss in Osaka
Osaka Castle Park, a historical site of great dimensions, located in the heart of the city, is one of Osaka’s most popular spots, widely visited by castle-enthusiasts and many travelers from all over the world. Osaka Castle and its park can be explored and enjoyed any time of the year.
Picture courtesy of Magical Trip
Another fun option at Osaka Castle is to participate on a bike tour. For details and tour reservations, see this link: Osaka Bike Tour to the Neighborhoods of Osaka Castle.
Osaka Castle was built in the latter half of the 16th century and was home to Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s (*1), one of the men behind the unification of Japan under one common ruler during the Sengoku period. It is the country’s pride, a great symbol of Japan, and it took around 16 years to fully construct.
Sadly, the original building that was built during that period was burned down when Toyotomi family lost their governing rights, so the stone walls and the watchtower, or yagura (*2) in Japanese, you can see today, are all the restored versions, renovated sometime during the Edo Period.
*1 Toyotomi Hideyoshi: the most famous shogun (military leader) of the Warring States (Sengoku) Period, who paved his way to the top of the country from humble origins.
*2 Yagura: a high building similar to a scaffold.
How to Get to Osaka Castle
There are 8 stations that are close to Osaka Castle. Being a grandiose park, there are many stations that are considered to be the closest to it, but we will introduce two are very simple to use.
From Osaka Station: Osakajo-Koen Station
Osakajo-Koen Station (Osaka Castle Park Station) is the last station of the Osaka Loop Line, while Osaka Station is the first one. By using this line, you can reach the final station, Osakajo-Koen Station, in no more than 10 minutes from the liveliest shopping district in Osaka, the Osaka Station area.
The Closest One to the Osaka Castle’s Tenshukaku: Tanimachi Yonchome Station
You can reach Tanimachi Yonchome Station you ride two subway lines – Tanimachi Line and Chuo Line (Main Line). As it is close to the Great Gate (Ootemon), it is the best route choice for anyone who wants to enter the castle from the main entrance.
Osaka Museum of History is also located near this station, so you might find it interesting to pay a visit to that attraction as well.
Admission Fee and How to Pay as Little as Possible
Osaka Castle Tenshukaku Admission Fee
The entrance fee for adults who want to enter the tenshukaku of the Osaka Castle is 600 yen, but the admission for junior high school students and younger is free of charge.
If you plan to visit the Osaka Museum of History (the usual exhibition) as well, we suggest taking advantage of a special, good-value ticket for 900 yen.
Other than that, you can purchase a 2000 yen ticket for an opportunity to both enter the castle’s tenshukaku and to ride the suijo, or water (sightseeing) bus (Japanese). Find out which bargain-price ticket suits your itinerary the best, and enjoy your visit to the castle to the fullest!
You can visit Osaka Castle anytime between 9:00-17:00 (the last admission is at 16:30), however, business hours are extended during cherry blossom season, the golden week holidays, and summer break.
The Viewing Platform, Illuminations, and Other Castle Attractions
The tenshukaku of the Osaka Castle consists of 8 floors in total.
The Display Area
The tenshukaku is arranged to have a display area (museum), starting from the 1st floor (the entrance) up to the 7th, with many artifacts and documents dating from the period of the erection of the castle, when the founder, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, lived and governed. The restoration model of the castle, as well as the armor and helmets, swords, and miniature dolls reenacting the battlefield of that time, are all exhibited in this area.
Different exhibitions are sometimes held depending on the season, so the visitors have a chance to check out special and themed displays. For more information, look up for those special exhibitions beforehand on the official website of the castle.
The Observation Platform
On the 8th floor is a 50-meter high observation deck from which you can sweep the whole of the gigantic castle, as well as the city of Osaka, in one glance. This area is also fully wheelchair accessible, so don’t miss on this great opportunity to admire the cityscape of Osaka.
And After the Sunset – the Illumination!
Furthermore, every day after the sun has set and until 23:00, the visitors can feast their eyes upon the sparkling-white, lit up tenshukaku from up close. A somewhat mysterious atmosphere engulfs the gates, the watchtower, and other parts of the castle, too, as the light fall on those indirectly for an extraordinary outlook.
How Long Should You Visit Osaka Castle For?
First, it should take you around one and a half hours to slowly take a stroll (while photographing the area) around the inside of the castle grounds, as the three levels of the castle’s grounds area (ninomaru – the outer citadel, honmaru – the inner citadel, and nishinomaru – the western citadel), are quite large.
As mentioned above, in the main building, the tenshukaku, you can admire many exhibits and partake in some activities at the activity corner, so we assume it would take at least 30 minutes even if you only take a quick look around the insides. There is an elevator installed in the building, so those who don’t have as much time, as well as the visitors in wheelchairs, can make use of it for a more efficient cruise.
What’s more, you can partake in numerous interesting events that are often held at the Osaka Castle. If you fancy experiencing some of those or actively partaking in some, don’t forget to make some extra time for that, too.
What to Enjoy at Osaka Castle Park
Osaka Castle Park is the town park located in the middle of Osaka, with the castle’s tenshukaku situated in its very center. It is a park that allows you to connect with the nature and appreciate its charms, during the blossoming seasons of the plum tree (the middle of March), and the cherry tree (April), or while enjoying the view on the numerous moats that were dug up in order to protect the castle from the enemy.
Moreover, if you take a stroll around the park for some more, you will come across the tea room that will make you forget you’re still in the middle of a bustling city area with its serene atmosphere; Osakajo Ongakudo (Osaka Castle Music Hall), where many concerts and events are regularly organized; or Hokoku Shrine, where you might stumble upon one of many wedding ceremonies often held there. It is said that in Hokoku Shrine dwells the god of good business (career) success.
Things to Do Near Osaka Castle
The area surrounding the Osaka Castle has a lot to tell about the vast and rich Japanese history, and one place in the vicinity, where you can learn all about the castle, or the history of the city, is the Osaka Museum of History. For that occasion, you can purchase a special ticket that can get you into Osaka Castle’s tenshukaku and the museum for a cheaper price.
But you don’t have to only read or hear about it – you can feel the history still living in the present times by visiting the nearby Kyobashi area, still preserving the former outlook of one of the liveliest shopping districts of the olden times. Not only that, but you can pay a visit to a famous hanami (cherry blossom viewing) spot in Osaka Castle Park, and gaze upon around 300 cherry trees growing in the Nishinomaru Garden, which is enlisted as one of the city’s Important Cultural Properties.
If you are a fan of the plum blossoms or have an interest in flowers and plants overall, you definitely shouldn’t miss this lovely area. Also, if you are up for a bit of shopping and such, you can take a stroll around some new shopping and business spots such as Osaka Business Park or Mitsui Outlet Park Osaka Tsurumi, which are lately garnering attention with visitors to the city. This truly is an area that unifies the spirit of Osaka’s olden and modern days, isn’t it?
How about touring around the city of Osaka after paying a visit to the Osaka Castle and learning about its history? We are sure it will give you a whole new perspective on the city much loved by many people.