Golden Week Day 1: OSAKA
Nearest station: Tanimachi-4-chome
Admission to main castle tower: Y 600
Situated at the heart of the city, Osakajo is perhaps the main landmark of Osaka. It is said to have been integral to the unification of Japan in the 16th century during the Azuchi-Momoyama period.
Aside from the moat that surrounds the grounds, Osakajo is built on two raised platforms supported by huge stone walls. To provide additional defense, the main castle tower is placed on top of a tall rock wall foundation, making it look grand and majestic from afar.
The castle grounds boasts of a number of gardens where children and adults can relax. I hear that these gardens are gorgeous in spring, with a lot of cherry trees lining the paths. A tour of the gardens could have been enjoyable if not for the extreme heat during that day. For those who want to enjoy the grounds more leisurely, you can opt to take the Castle Park tram (“Road Train”), which runs from the Otemon gate to the Sakuramon gate on the other side of the castle. The ride costs Y 200.
The main castle tower is 5-stories high. As with other castles in Japan, the lower floors house historical documents, miniatures and videos depicting the famous Siege of Osaka in 1615AD, and ancient works of art. The top floor serves as an observation deck, which boasts of a breathtaking view of the city.
** I was not able to take lots of of pictures of the grounds and the museum inside the main tower because my battery was already running low and we still had one more destination to go. But this site offers more photos of the castle grounds plus more tidbits of the history and description of Osakajo. It’s a good read.