OWL Magazine Korea

Osaka, Japan’s Top 3 Landmarks – Osaka Castle (2023)

On the final morning of our family trip to the Kansai region in Japan, we visited Osaka Castle. Osaka Castle was a place I had explored in detail during my solo trip to Osaka and Kyoto in 2018.

Back then, I vividly remember diligently using the Osaka Amazing Pass to make the most of our travels. However, this time, we chose not to purchase the pass, allowing us to enjoy a relatively relaxed journey.

“Osaka Castle – One of Japan’s Top 3 Landmarks”

Osaka Castle is recognized as one of Japan’s top three landmarks, alongside Himeji Castle and Kumamoto Castle. However, for Koreans, Osaka Castle might not be associated with pleasant memories because it was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who led the Japanese invasions of Korea.

“Toyotomi Hideyoshi – Builder of Osaka Castle and Instigator of the Japanese invasions of Korea”

Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a prominent figure during Japan’s Sengoku period, particularly serving under Oda Nobunaga. Starting as a servant managing Oda Nobunaga’s footwear, Hideyoshi’s status rose after catching Nobunaga’s attention. Subsequently, he became a significant figure known for achieving unification during the Warring States period in Japan.

After Oda Nobunaga’s death, Hideyoshi swiftly absorbed Nobunaga’s power, eventually accomplishing the unification of Japan. Following this, Hideyoshi turned his attention overseas, leading to the invasion of Korea in 1592 during the Imjin War.

After unifying Japan, Hideyoshi focused on overseas ventures. In 1592, he invaded Korea, leading to the Imjin War.

Hideyoshi’s rule did not last long. After his death following the defeat in the Imjin War, his son took over, but as Tokugawa Ieyasu gained strength while patiently waiting for the forces to weaken during the Imjin War, Japan once again split into Eastern and Western forces.

The fate of Japan was decided in the Battle of Sekigahara, where Tokugawa Ieyasu emerged victorious. This marked the beginning of the Edo period under Tokugawa Ieyasu’s rule.

“Osaka Castle Lost During the War in 1945”

Osaka Castle, like many other cultural heritage sites in Japan, was destroyed during World War II. In 1945, along with the Tokyo air raids by the U.S. military, Osaka also faced bombings, resulting in the destruction of Osaka Castle. The present-day Osaka Castle and its central tenshukaku (main tower) were reconstructed after the war.

During the restoration, an elevator was installed in the tenshukaku, allowing visitors to easily access different levels. The entrance fee for the tenshukaku is 600 yen for adults, approximately equivalent to 6,000 won.

Visitors can ascend to the top using either stairs or an elevator. However, the elevator operates only up to the 5th floor. From the 5th to the 8th floor, visitors must use the stairs. Upon reaching the top, you can enjoy panoramic views of Osaka city.

Each floor also features exhibitions related to Osaka Castle, covering topics such as the Battle of Osaka and Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s life. Note that photography is prohibited on the 3rd and 4th floors.

“Returning to Osaka Castle in 2023”

I had explored every nook and cranny of Osaka Castle in 2018, using the Osaka Amazing Pass to visit Nishinomaru Garden, museums, and observation decks like Tamatsukuri Inari Shrine.

This time, without the Amazing Pass and observing the noticeably decreasing energy levels of my parents on the final day of our trip, we opted for a more relaxed itinerary. We spent some time in the parks around Osaka Castle and ascended the tenshukaku in the center before returning.

While not a particularly joyful destination for us, considering its historical significance and recognition as one of Japan’s top three landmarks, Osaka Castle is a place worth visiting when exploring Osaka.

“Osaka, Japan – Osaka Castle”

  • Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture 540-0002, Japan
  • Phone: +81 6-6941-3044
  • Operating Hours: 9:00 – 17:00
  • Website: Osaka Castle