Towering over Kansai’s largest city is Osaka Castle, known in Japanese as Osaka-jo. Built in 1583, destroyed in 1663, rebuilt in 1931 and restored to its former Edo glory in 1997, Osaka Castle is a landmark of Japanese history that is open for anyone to come and learn about its turbulent history.
Learn About Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle and the Osaka Castle Park cover two square kilometers of land inside central Osaka. The castle tower is surrounded by historic citadels, turrets, gates and reinforced stone walls with moats that were used in conflicts past.
All facilities in the area have been perfectly restored and renovated, making sure the historic site is up to code, including an elevator inside the tower.
What are the Osaka Castle Hours?
Visiting can be confusing as the Osaka Castle hours vary depending on where you want to go in the grounds. The Osaka Castle Park which surrounds the main building are open at all times, yet the Nishinomaru Garden, which is inside the park, is open from 9:00 AM and closes at 5:00 PM in the summer months, and at 4:30 PM in the winter months. Admission is cut off half an hour before closing time.
The main castle hours are from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. Like most places in Japan, the castle is closed over the Japanese New Year’s holidays from the 28th of December to the 1st of January.
The entrance fees for the castle are 600 yen for anyone over the 15 and under the age of 64, without disabilities. You must be a resident of Osaka to get the seniors discount. Children under the age of 15 get in for free.
The Modern Osaka Castle Interior
The Osaka Castle interior houses the Osaka Castle Museum. The inside is completely modern with a traditional Japanese feel and features exhibitions relating to the history of the castle and its builder, Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the Japanese feudal lord who wanted to bring Japan together under his lordship.
On the 8th floor of the castle tower is an observation deck where visitors are treated to a splendid view of the Osaka cityscape.
Getting an Osaka Castle Map
You can find an Osaka Castle map by going to the official website and downloading the guidebook. These guidebooks can also be found throughout the park and can be helpful in locating where to go next. You can also use your smartphone with Google Maps, which has a detailed outline of the entire park mapped out for your leisure.
The Osaka Castle History
Going back 600 years, the Osaka Castle history is a very turbulent one. The castle started construction in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi to rival Oda Nobunaga’s Azuchi Castle on the shores of Lake Biwa.
Hideyoshi wanted to unify Japan with Osaka Castle being the capital. He successfully surpassed Nobunaga’s castle when it was completed in 1597, sadly though, Hideyoshi died the year after.
Osaka Castle passed onto his son, Toyotomi Hideyori, who was able to defend the castle from a raid from the Tokugawa clan in 1614. Sadly, in the summer 1615, as Hideyori’s men were repairing the moat from the first attack, Tokugawa came back and took over the castle, ending the Toyotomi line and burning down the castle.
Since then, Osaka Castle had been rebuilt and destroyed many times. Most recently is World War II, where the castle was used as an arms factory and was destroyed by Allies bombing. The area and castle were restored to its former glory in 1997 thanks to effort from the Osaka Government and local businesses.
- Spot name: Osaka Castle
- Street address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo, Osaka, Osaka 540-0002
- Access: A 7-minute walk from Osakajokoen Station on the Osaka Loop Line West Exit
Stroll Around Osaka Castle Park
Surrounding the castle is Osaka Castle Park, a two square kilometer nature zone with many historic landmarks and attractions. Inside the park are two venues, the Osaka Castle Hall and the Osaka Castle open-air Hall, which are used for sports, such as judo, and concerts.
The best times to visit the park are during the high blooming seasons. In the first part of the year from January to March, the plum blossoms bloom and are able to be viewed inside the park. Also, in March is the blooming of the peach blossoms, sometimes overlapping with the plum blossoms. Finally, during April is when the famous cherry blossoms bloom, lighting up the park in a sea of pink.
Hotels near Osaka Castle
Staying at one of the hotels near Osaka Castle means that you’ll be able to wake up and see Japanese history outside your window as you stay in Kansai’s capital. For the best view of the castle and park, we recommend staying at KKR Hotel Osaka. During breakfast on the 12th floor, you’ll be treated to the best view of Osaka Castle in the city, all while munching on pancakes.
- Spot name: KKR Hotel Osaka
- Street address: 2-24 Banbacho, Chuo, Osaka, Osaka 540-0007
- Access: A 10-minute walk from Morinomiya Station on the Osaka Loop Line West Exit
Restaurants near Osaka Castle
You’ll need to find something to eat at one of the restaurants near Osaka Castle after traversing its grounds all day. Tokumasa Udon Morinomiya is a thick wheat flour noodle soup restaurant that is very common all over Japan. Near Morinomiya station, this spot has an English menu with reasonable prices and is open for lunch and dinner. Udon is great after a long day’s walk.
- Spot name: Tokumasa Udon Morinomiya
- Street address: 1-16-22 Morinomiya Chuo, Chuo-ku, Osaka, Osaka 540-0003
- Access: A 2-minute walk from Morinomiya Station on the Osaka Loop Line West Exit