Recently, I went to Osaka Castle, one of the landmarks of Osaka. Osaka Castle was an important castle in the unification of Japan during the 16th century, and was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the 3 major warlords in the history of Japan.
This period of history is very popular in Japan, and there have been countless TV dramas, movies, and books written about it. Because of this, the important castles and landmarks during this period of time are also popular tourist destinations, even for Japanese people.
The outside grounds of the castle is now a park. I saw countless people running, walking, and cycling through the grounds. It reminded me a little of Central Park in New York – a huge green space in the middle of the city. I seriously wish every major city had a park like this!
Japanese castles are surrounded by several layers of fortification before you get to the actual building. This is one of those gates.
The main attraction of Japanese castles is to see the view from the top. The insides of the castles are usually not preserved, and are made into museums which display related artifacts or to explain the importance of the museum. Since going to the top is the main attraction, many Japanese castles have elevators inside that takes you to the top (usually something like the 7th or 8th floor), and then you walk the stairs to go down, going through the exhibits at each floor.
The entrance of Osaka castles has this hilarious sign, written to sound like a Japanese warlord’s comments:
“The strategy of the restroom:
- the restroom is on the 2nd floor
- when each second counts, go up using the stairs
- don’t rush. Japan was not united by rushing”
Many castles of this era have golden koi fish at the corners of the top layers. You can see much of Osaka city from the top.
The weather was beautiful, and I was able to take great pictures!
If you do decide to visit Osaka castle, it might be helpful to read up on Toyotomi Hideyoshi before you come. Along with Oda Nobunaga and Tokugawa Ieyasu, these three people are probably the most important people in ancient Japanese history.
Hope you enjoyed this post, and I hope you’ll visit Osaka some day!