Osaka-jo (Castle) is widely known as an emblem of the power and fortune of Hideyoshi Toyotomi (a Daimyo, or powerful territorial Lord)... more ». In 1583 Hideyoshi began construction on the former site of Hongan-ji (Temple), and, when completed, was reputed as being unparalleled in all of Japan.Having employed the castle as his stronghold, Hideyoshi succeeded in quelling the wars which had raged for more than a century, thereby unifying the entire nation.
The castle has been destroyed and reconstructed many times over the years, by conflicts, wars and natural disasters. In 1660 lightning ignited the gunpowder warehouse, and set the castle on fire. Again, in 1665, lightning strikes, this time burning-down the new tower. In 1868, much of the castle was burned during the civil conflicts surrounding the Meiji Restoration (a chain of events which restored Imperial rule to Japan). Then in 1945, during the World War II bombing raids of Osaka, the reconstructed main tower was damaged. In 1997 restoration was completed and the castle is now a concrete reconstruction.
Osaka-jo is situated on a plot of land roughly one-kilometer square. The castle grounds (Osaka-jo koen)which cover approximately 60,000 square meters (15 acres) contain thirteen structures which have been designated as "Important Cultural Assets".
I will commence this guide at the "Osaka Museum of History", where you will be given an insight into the history of Osaka, as well as Osaka-jo, and you will be given a grand view overlooking Osaka-jo koen.From there, once you enter the castle grounds, I will leave your route up-to-you, and allow you to wander about the structures and grounds.
Regardless of what angle you view the castle - high-up, ground-level, from a train - Osaka-jo is a truly magnificent structure. But don't just come and view the castle, take the time to wander the park. If you are fortunate to be in the area during "Cherry Blossom" viewing (April/May), you will be in for a treat. The Sakura are a sight to behold and the locals take great delight in celebrating the occasion with a picnic under the blooms. I suggest you do the same.
The Castle is open from 9am to 5pm and admittance is 600-yen. less «
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