Osaka Castle




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.

Visit 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. For some trips I haven't even gone 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.

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More Galleries and Feature Pages


Enshogura (6 photos)

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Osaka Castle Night (11 photos)

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Sanadamaru (11 photos)

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Sengan Yagura (6 photos)

Osaka tamonyagura1.jpg

Tamon Yagura (11 photos)

Castle Profile
English Name Osaka Castle
Japanese Name 大阪城
Alternate Names Kin-jo
Founder Toyotomi Hideyoshi
Year Founded 1583
Castle Type Flatland
Castle Condition Reconstructed main keep
Designations Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, Special Historic Site
Historical Period Edo Period
Main Keep Structure 5 levels, 8 stories
Year Reconstructed 1931 (concrete)
Artifacts Sengan Yagura, Inui Yagura, Kinmeisui Ido Yakata, Rokuban Yagura, Ichiban yagura, Enshogura, Gokinzo, Tamon Yagura, Otemon, Sakura mon, castle walls
Features main keep, gates, turrets, bridges, water moats, stone walls, walls
Visitor Information
Access JR Osakajo Koen Station
Visitor Information Main Keep museum open 9am-5pm; 600 yen; Closed Dec 28-Jan 1
Time Required 3 hours
Location Osaka, Osaka
Coordinates 34° 41' 14.60" N, 135° 31' 32.70" E
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Year Visited 1997, 2012, 2013, 2017, 2018
Contributor Eric
Visits December 1997; March 18, 2012; March 8, 2013; July 28, 2017; December 23, 2018
Added to Jcastle 1999

(65 votes)
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13 months ago
Score 0++
I revisited Osakajô today. The last time was in 2010. I din't had the 100 meijô stamp. Today(7th april 2019) was a perfect day since the sakura were in full bloom and the Otemonyagura, Sengan yagura and stone gunpowder store were open like Chris Glenn mentioned on FB. Since i'm accompanying 2 young ladies on this voyage i didn't visit the castle grounds as if i was alone. I still managed to visit the Tenshu and the 3 open to the public buildings and took 165 photos.


31 months ago
Score 1++
I love the gold on this castle.


37 months ago
Score 1++

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.


41 months ago
Score 0++
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.


44 months ago
Score 0++
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).


44 months ago
Score 0++
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.


58 months ago
Score 0++
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 i2003Gunshi

60 months ago
Score 0++
Impressive is the word for this castle and its location.


88 months ago
Score 0++

First one I ever visited and I have been there twice!

Awesome museum and awesome history of that location.


97 months ago
Score 0++
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.Gunshi

106 months ago
Score 0++
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!


110 months ago
Score 0++
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.


113 months ago
Score 0++
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.


114 months ago
Score 0++
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.


116 months ago
Score 0++
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 :)


117 months ago
Score 0++
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.


123 months ago
Score 0++
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.