Osaka Castle 大阪城
Founder Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Toyotomi
Year 1583
Type Flatland
Condition Reconstructed
Alternate Name Kin-jo
Reconstructed 1931 (concrete)
Structure 5 levels, 8 stories
Admin's Rating ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Historical Site Special Historic Site
Historical Value Top 100 Castles, Important Cultural Properties
Historical Artifacts Important Cultural Properties:
Sengan Yagura, Inui Yagura, Kinmeisui Ido Yakata, Rokuban Yagura, Ichiban yagura, Enshogura, Gokinzo, Tamon Yagura, Otemon, Sakura mon, castle walls
Location Osaka
Map Google Map
Access JR Osakajo Koen Station
Website Osaka Castle
Visited December 1997, March 18, 2012
Visitor Info. Main Keep museum open 9am-5pm; 600 yen; Closed Dec 28-Jan 1 | Time Required: 3 hours
Notes This is a great castle to visit. Unfortunately, some people go straight to the main keep, see the museum and go away disappointed with the elevator and concrete. On my second trip I didn't even go in the museum. The basic layout of the castle is nearly in tact. There are several original gates and yagura and the stone walls are simply amazing. Take your time to enjoy everything Osaka Castle has to offer.
History

Toyotomi Hideyoshi built Osaka-jo in 1583. Hideyoshi, being the great battle expert he was, designed the most formidable 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 be easily 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 suiced before being captured. In 1620 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.

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  • ART    April 24, 2017 at 03:33 PM
    I compiled some information on Osaka Castle from various sources. I present it below: Oda had Adzuchijō, Tokugawa had Edojō and Toyotomi had Ōsakajō. If Tokugawa had lost the Battle of Sekigahara, or even the Siege of Ōsakajō, Ōsaka would probably be the capital of Japan by now, as this was where Toyotomi Hideyoshi built his main headquarters in 1583. The site of Ōsaka Castle was originally a stronghold of the Ikkō-ikki called Ishiyama-Honganji, which in turn had been built in 1496 on the ruins of Naniwa Palace, which can be seen next to the castle to this day. The Ikkō-ikki used Ishiyama-Honganji as their headquarters and resisted Oda Nobunaga here for 11 years, surrendering finally in 1580, whereupon the temple-fortress was razed. Construction of Ōakajō began in 1583 under Toyotomi Hideyoshi, it’s vast layout was designed to rival Oda’s castle of Adzuchijō. The Tenshukaku (main keep) built at this time was of 5 tiers with gold leaf (I saw a brilliant computer rendering of it recently in the latest Sanada Jūyūshi film, which I actually witnessed being filmed at Kakegawajō). Hideyoshi died in 1598 and with that infant son Hideyori inherited his legacy, living at Ōsakajō. As Hideyori grew, Tokugawa Ieyasu consolidate his hold on power. The Fall of the First Ōsaka Castle: Whilst Tokugawa Ieyasu had been Japan’s undisputed leader since the Battle of Sekigahara, the Toyotomi clan remained a potential threat to him. After first trying diplomatic manoeuvres (Hideyori was married to Sen-hime, Ieyasu’s granddaughter), Ieyasu attacked Ōsakajō in the winter of 1614 after Hideyori was reportedly amassing troops. Hideyori was known to compose calligraphy composed of characters meaning “peace” and such, so if I were Ieyasu I’d be suspicious too. The castle was besieged and Hideyori agreed to dismantle the defences at the castle. Bakufu forces began filling in Ōsakajō’s outer moat, but by next summer it was reported that Hideyori had begun re-digging the moat and stopped government men from their work, and that he was amassing even more troops. This enraged Ieyasu and he marched another army down to Ōsaka. The Toyotomi Loyalists planned to make up for their lack of numbers (their army was half the size of the Tokugawa side) with a surprise attack. The plan was to have Akashi Morishige attack from the flank, causing disorder, whilst Sanada Yukimura and Mori Katsunaga, leader of the Ōsaka Rōnin, would then attack from the front. Hideyori would then emerge from Ōsakajō and finish off the enemy force. However, the Eastern Army scouted and engaged Akashi before he could attack. The Rōnin began shooting the enemy and when Sanada ordered them to fall back they instead advanced with gusto. Sanada followed, conceding to their bloodlust, and the battle raged on despite the break in the plan. For a while it seemed Tokugawa would lose, and there is some evidence he had prepared for seppuku in such an event. The Ōsaka Rōnin fought bravely but when they needed reinforcements from the castle none came. Eventually with the enemy being too numerous they were overwhelmed. Too late Toyotomi Hideyori emerged with his army from Ōsakajō, only to be chased back into the mainkeep. With the suddenness of this about-turn, there was not time to prepare a defense of the stronghold and the Eastern Army stormed the main citadel, firing upon the tenshukaku with gun and cannon, and forcing Hideyori to commit suicide. There is evidence that a rouse kept Hideyori in his castle when he might’ve emerged to claim victory… but let’s discuss that another time. In 1620 Ōsakajō was rebuilt by Tokugawa Hidetada, the 2nd Shōgun, bigger than before with a five-tier eight-storey tenshukaku. He gave the task of building segments of the walls to individual clans and so the castle was built very quickly, a national effort. In 1660 a lightning strike ignited a gunpowder store and caused a fire at the castle. Another lightning bolt in 1665 struck and burned down the tenshukaku and it was subsequently not rebuilt until the modern reconstruction seen today. In 1843 repairs were carried out a thte castle and several yagura (turrets) were rebuilt. In 1868 Meiji Forces conquered the castle, causing much destruction. In 1928 Ōsakajō became one of the first castles reconstructed from concrete, but the castle remained as an arsenal and was bombed by Allied aircraft in 1945. The new keep was damaged in the air raid but not destroyed.
  • Ydaerlum Leoc    February 26, 2017 at 11:06 AM
    the last paragraph reminds me of my friend
  • Lampshade on My Page    January 04, 2017 at 11:13 PM
    I really liked the castle itself, the museum inside was very interesting and detailed the history behind it well. However, the overall experience wasn’t that great because of the amount of people that were there, it was much more crowded than Himeji castle the day before. For this reason I don’t think I’ll revisit the main keep of the castle and don’t remember it too fondly, but it’s good to have been to a place with so much history behind it at least. What I did enjoy the most was the video downstairs explaining the transportation of materials to build the castle, after that I went outside to check the rocks in the area and loved to find the different markings on them telling us which general was in charge of their mobilisation and placement. Since I visited this on my second trip to Japan I really only visited the main keep and the kura storehouse (I did love kura storehouses even then…) but I think I’ll go again one day just to check out the rest of the grounds and area on a future trip to Osaka.
  • suupaahiiroo    September 22, 2016 at 03:15 PM
    Was disappointed by the castle the first time I visited it, but gradually grew to love the moats and the yagura. All in all, apart from the modern tenshu this a magnificent complex. For the best view of the castle grounds visit the Osaka Museum of History (大阪歴史博物館).
  • snoworion on My Page    September 20, 2016 at 04:54 PM
    Visited on 10 September 2016. More of a modern museum built in the shape of a castle than a castle. Grounds are more impressive than the castle itself. Crowd ruin the experience.
  • lidiamq on My Page    June 01, 2016 at 07:25 PM
    2001. Too crowded. very modern
  • SamJapan    December 03, 2015 at 07:45 PM
    Such a stunnig castle
  • hikarisailorcat    August 24, 2015 at 11:32 AM
    Beautiful castle with a beautiful view from the top. The museum is really good too. I have been inside twice. In winter they do a castle light up which is stunning.
  • kiddus_i2003 on My Page    June 07, 2015 at 02:59 AM
    Impressive is the word for this castle and its location.
  • lpixekdbtumf, http://www.vagpsfmada.com/ qlpruuvvwc    April 03, 2014 at 02:06 AM
    lpixekdbtumf, http://www.vagpsfmada.com/ qlpruuvvwc
  • neutronsan on My Page    February 23, 2013 at 02:27 PM
  • neutronsan on My Page    February 23, 2013 at 02:26 PM
    First one I ever visited and I have been there twice! Awesome museum and awesome history of that location.
  • RaymondW    May 29, 2012 at 09:46 PM
    After work today, I went to the ruins of the Sanada Bailey, an outer fortification which protected the approaches to Osaka Castle from the south during the Winter Campaign of the Siege of Osaka Castle in 1614. There isn't much left there apart from some stone remnants, but there is a statue of Sanada Yukimura erected in more recent times. The ruins are about 5 minutes walk from JR Tamatsukuri Station.
  • Frank T. on My Page    September 15, 2011 at 07:14 PM
    This is a great first castle to visit. It's conveniently located in a major city near an international airport. It has all the features that can be found in Japanese castles--gates, moats, turrets, high walls of huge stones, and of course, the keep--so one can learn what to look for. Finally, it's historically important and has a very good museum. Since the keep is a concrete reconstruction, though, a visit here could be disappointing after a visit to another castle like Himeji. The grounds are extensive, but the outer areas are not well maintained. Go here first!
  • Jeff    June 01, 2011 at 10:28 AM
    Hi! planning to go to osaka! Sept 6-8. Need help... on everything! hihihi hoping to find a friend to help me go around the city. Thanks! - voxdeilluminati@yahoo.com
  • a22cricket on My Page    May 16, 2011 at 07:07 PM
    Detailed museum about the original castle and the sieges. The original stone walls are great. Better from the outside while the interior is modern, including elevators and a small theater.
  • Kris on My Page    January 21, 2011 at 10:37 PM
    Osaka castle is one of the top three things to do in Osaka, the others are visiting the aquarium and eating. Unfortunately, my old camera's batteries died right before I got to the castle so the only photo I have is of the beautiful blue water of the moat. (By a strange coincidence the camera itself finally passed on directly after visiting the mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu). The park was very nice to walk around. I would like to go back to Osaka by myself one day - I went with a friend who wasn't really interested so I didn't get to see as much as I liked.
  • Usagi on My Page    January 08, 2011 at 07:28 PM
    Easy access from station.
  • James    January 06, 2011 at 07:41 PM
    This was the first castle I visited in Japan and I have a lot of fond memories as a result. It was one of the main reasons I moved to Osaka and whilst I can understand how some people dislike the concrete reconstruction, a lot of effort has been put into the exhibits inside the castle to provide some excellent information about the history of the site and local area. At times I prefer this approach as it helps visitors learn something during their tour and the extensive grounds make for a beautiful walk with some stunning scenery. Movement within the castle slows to a crawl on crowded days (spaces are narrow as it is) but anyone wanting a free poster should ask at the staff office as they usually have a variety of old promotional material to get rid of.
  • alicemacgee on My Page    November 07, 2010 at 06:06 PM
    Went there on my last day in Osaka, and I felt somewhat disappointed. Yes, it looks great on the outside, and it has really impressive castle park, walls and moats, but the donjon's interior... Would they restore it in wood one day, I wonder? Although the museum was great, all those elevators and concrete killed my inner castle enthusiast a little bit more with every level :/ Though, the view from the observation deck is beautiful, and if I lived in Osaka, it would be great walk through the castle park everyday while going to work and back, as many students and salarimen there seem to do :)
  • furinkazan on My Page    October 08, 2010 at 06:19 PM
    This is really a nice castle to visit, even if it's in concrete. The site is beautiful and the collection inside the castle is worth a visit. If you visit the city for 1 or 2 days i recommend to buy a 1 or 2 day unlimited pass at an information center. It give access to several buildings and the Osaka subway. If you visit the Museum of history you can take a nice view of the castle from the 10th or 9th floor.
  • John    June 19, 2010 at 07:24 AM
    Oh, and I suppose it would be too costly and to "damaging" redo the keeps again, only this time in wood, plaster and stone- what they were built with in the first place. Oh well, one of the great things about the human imagination is that any thing can happen inside the wastlands that are our minds.
  • Admin    April 04, 2010 at 10:27 AM
    In the post-war Japan when they rebuilt a lot of these they were, unfortunately, not so concerned about things like that. They just slapped up something that looked more or less like a castle as cheaply as possible. Then filled it with museum goods to try and raise interest in the area and in history. These days they are trying much harder to recreate anything in a more accurate methods . The new castle palaces and reconstruction that have gone up recently are well done. There are plans in discussion to rebuild the donjon at Nagoya and Matsumae using traditional methods and materials too. However, just because a castle is a poor concrete reconstruction don't dismiss the historical value of the site. Osaka, Nagoya, Fukuyama and many places with poor concrete donjon also have many original gates, watchtowers or other structures that are important historical artifacts.
  • John    April 03, 2010 at 10:47 AM
    I repeat, why do they always have to use concrete to reconstruct them?
  • Anonymous    December 21, 2009 at 12:42 PM
    I don't think anyone's dumb enough to jump off the railing.
  • Webmaster    October 24, 2009 at 01:22 PM
    Julian, I think it's just a net to prevent people from dropping stuff on others below or maybe from jumping over the railing.
  • Julian (from Canada)    October 23, 2009 at 09:49 AM
    Is it a noren that hangs from the top of the castle? I didn't really notice it when I was there (many years ago) but I've been wondering what that is when I've seen pictures of it since then.
  • Mikey K    April 15, 2009 at 02:47 AM
    Hi, my name is Mikey and I was wondering if any of you have any posters of this castle to add to my collection of jcastle posters. Email me at koenigm@doversherborn.org
  • Webmaster    April 01, 2008 at 02:13 AM
    Here's a much better map in English http://www.osakacastle.net/english/park/map.pdf
  • Anonymous    April 01, 2008 at 02:11 AM
    Try these sites. This map in Japanese is very good: http://www.osakacastle.net/access/map.pdf Here's one in English but is a bit hard to read: http://www.osakacastle.net/castle_en/kokuin/tokinoko.htm#map
  • Anonymous    March 31, 2008 at 05:19 AM
    can't you guys put an easier map cause i need it for a Japan scrapbook project
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Osaka
Osaka Castle views
Inui Yagura
Back side of the Inui Yagura. Sangan Yagura and Otemon Gate
moat near the Otemon Gate Sengan Yagura and moat
Inside the Otemon Gate Large stones at the Otemon gate
Loops holes in the Otemon Gate Otemon Watariyagura Gate
Main keep seen from the Nishinomaru Bailey North Shikirimon Gate
North Shikirimon Gate Ensho Storehouse
Dry moat around the Honmaru bailey stone with wedge holes
Sakuramon Gate Sakuramon Gate
Honmaru Bailey dry moat Huge stone at the Sakura Gate
Sakura Gate Main keep
Gokinzo Main keep seen from the Hime Gate.
Kakushi Kuruwa Bailey Gokuraku Bridge
Aoyaguchi Gate Outer moat and Ichiban Yagura.
Ichiban Yagura Rokuban Yagura
Rokuban Yagura Rokuban Yagura
Stones form Hideyoshi's original walls Map