Osaka Castle – an Osaka Icon
The stage of fierce power struggles, destruction and devastation, Osaka Castle has persevered time and time again. It now stands proud as an Osaka landmark and one of the city's best sightseeing spots.
Osaka Castle is one of the city’s premier tourist attractions. Located on a hilltop overlooking a vast garden, the castle, in what is now called Osaka Castle Park, is a symbol of the city as a whole. But the castle isn’t all the city has to offer – from its love of food to its notoriously affable and laid back inhabitants, Osaka is very much its own city and a great place to visit. For more information, including the best spots to eat, sleep and have fun in the city, check out our numerous guides.
Want more castles? Check our article Japan Castles – The 15 Best Japanese Castles
About Osaka Castle
Built in 1583 by order of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the innermost structure was completed in 1585. The build continued over ten years until it was finally completed in 1597 – the same year Toyotomi Hideyoshi died. In the bitter and prolonged power struggles that plagued feudal Japan and the beginning of the Edo Period, Osaka Castle played a central role, most prominently during the year-long Siege of Osaka. When Tokugawa Ieyasu finally broke the siege and destroyed the Toyotomi clan in 1615, he had successfully unified Japan and ushered in the Edo Period that would last until the Meiji Restoration in 1868. The castle subsequently suffered several man made and natural disasters.
The current Osaka Castle is the product of a rebuild in 1931 that gave the castle an observation deck on the top floor as well as a museum stocked with trinkets and souvenirs. The Main Tower, five stories on the outside but eight stories within, overlooks the moat and is built on sheer stone walls intended to protect the inhabitants from attack. Osaka Castle stands within approximately 60 square kilometers of grounds and is home to 13 structures deemed Important Cultural Assets by the Japanese government.
At night, the castle is illuminated, forming an unmistakable silhouette against the night sky. The vast castle park is also a popular picnic spot among locals and tourists alike year-round. Visitors flock to the grounds in large numbers when cherry blossom season hits in spring and again in autumn when the leaves turn deep red and contrast spectacularly with the white castle walls.
Further Info and Events
The spacious park around Osaka Castle plays host to numerous events, festivities and cultural traditions throughout the year, perfect for visitors to sneak a peek into Japanese culture past and present. One of the highlights is a food festival held annually in the Osaka Castle Park around mid-October.
For a full list of events and happenings in and around Osaka Castle, visit the following pages.
Mon – Sun
9:00 am – 5:00 pm
closed over New Years (12/28 – 01/01)
Osaka Castle entry
adult 600 yen
child free (up to middle school)
The entrance to the castle grounds is a mere two minutes walk from Osakajo Koen Station on the Osaka Loop Line, circling the city’s central area. You can also get to Osaka Castle via the Osaka Business Park Station on the Nagahori-Tsurumi-Ryokuchi Line on the Osaka Subway system. That station is a good five minutes from the park entrance and 10 to 15 minutes walk from the actual castle in the center of the park.