|OPEN HOURS||9:00 - 17:00 (last admission 16:30) Extended hours available during spring & summer|
Osaka Castle, which is a famous landmark, a popular sightseeing spot, and the symbol of Osaka, contains thirteen structures which have been designated as Important Cultural Assets by the Japanese government. Of special note are the grand gates and turrets along the outer moat. The steep walls that rise close to 30 meters high are made of huge blocks of stone that were transported to Osaka from quarries over 100 kilometers away. The sheer height of the walls and the wide moats they rise above make for a grand sight that can be matched by no other castle in Japan. Also of interest are the tower's eight roof dolphins and the ornamental roof tiles and reliefs carved in the shape of tigers, all of which are gilded with gold. The castle tower underwent a major renovation in 1997. The outer walls were replastered, the ornamental fixtures were restored, and gold leaf was re-applied throughout. These repairs have brought back the structure's stunning appearance of old―with pure white walls and striking accents of glittering gold. The re-engineered and refurbished Main Tower is illuminated both inside and out, highlighting the castle's brilliance as the symbol of Osaka.
Hideyoshi's Grand Vision
Osaka Castle was originally built by Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598), one of the three great warlords and unifiers of medieval Japan. Construction commenced in 1583 on the former site of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple. This temple, originally a stronghold of warrior priests, had been lost to fire three years earlier in a war with Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582) who was Hideyoshi's former commander and another of the three great medieval warlords. Hideyoshi intended the castle to become the center of a new, unified Japan under his rule.
It took 60,000 laborers 18 months to complete the castle's keep and tower. Hideyoshi, who had proclaimed himself the successor of Nobunaga Oda, modeled the castle after Nobunaga's Azuchi Castle, except on a much grander and more imposing scale so as to flaunt his unprecedented wealth. More than 1,000 vessels transported vast masses of stone from all around the Osaka area to construct the castle. Inside, the innermost palace was embellished with silver and gold, and priceless treasures were laid out and stacked up on every floor of the Main Tower.
The Great Castle Falls
For 15 years, until Hideyoshi's death in 1598, the castle kept growing and expanding, becoming ever stronger and more luxurious. And around it, Osaka was developing into the very picture of the modern castle town--a political, military, economic and cultural center with the mansions of powerful feudal lords clustered closely about the castle and everything else radiating out from there.
Two years after Hideyoshi's death, his forces were defeated by the forces of Ieyasu Tokugawa (1542-1616) at one of the great battles that threatened to divide the country in half. Ieyasu was the third of the great medieval warlords and one who, like Hideyoshi before him, succeeded in unifying the entire country under his rule, establishing the Tokugawa Shogunate, based in Edo, that would last for 260 years. In 1615, Tokugawa's troops came down from Edo, attacked and destroyed Osaka Castle, and terminated the Toyotomi lineage.
Repeated Rebuilding in the Edo Period
Osaka Castle was subsequently rebuilt by the Tokugawa Shogunate, which decreed that the walls be "twice as tall" and the moats "twice as deep" as before. But in 1660, less than 40 years after its reconstruction, the castle was largely destroyed when lightning struck one of its explosives warehouses. And 5 years later, in 1665, lightning struck again, this time hitting the Main Tower, which burned down. A little over a hundred years after that, in 1783, lightning struck yet once again. But by that time the castle had lost much of its former splendor.
In the mid-19th century the Tokugawa Shogunate, by forced subscription, collected sufficient funds from the people of Osaka and neighboring cities to renovate all the buildings of the castle with the exception of the Main Tower. That was not restored until the 20th century (late 1920s) when the citizens of Osaka voluntarily and enthusiastically contributed enough money to turn the castle into a permanent historical monument. The Main Tower, the third in the castle's history, was completed on November 7, 1931. It rises to a height of 55 meters from the ground.
Return to Former Glory
During World War II, the castle keep was damaged, though it weathered many of the bombing raids that destroyed other old buildings surrounding it. Moreover, in 1950, it was battered by a powerful typhoon that hit the area. The keep survived, but over the years there had been steady deterioration in many parts of the structure. So in 1995 a major renovation of the castle was undertaken. The idea was to restore it to its original appearance, to bring it back in all its glory, to make it a fitting, and even breathtaking symbol of Osaka.
The work, which required advanced technology, involved intricate work, such as removing, cleaning, repairing and finally re-installing more than 50,000 individual copper roof tiles. All the gold-leaf edge tiles decorating the eaves were also removed, cleaned and repaired. Intensive waterproofing measures were taken in many inaccessible places. All the outer walls were replastered, the ornamental fixtures were restored, and gold leaf was reapplied throughout. These repairs have brought back the castle's stunning appearance of old--with pure white walls and striking accents of glittering gold. Osaka Castle lives. It will stand forever.
|ADDRESS||〒540-0002 1-1 OsakaJo,Chuo-ku,OsakaCity|
|HOLIDAY||Year-end and New Year (Dec. 28 - Jan. 1)|
|TRANSPORTATION||15 - 20 min. walk from JR Morinomiya & Osakajokoen Sta.(exit No.1 and 3)
Tanimachi 4-chome Sta. of Subway Tanimachi Line
|ADMISSION FEE||Adult: JPY600, Junior high school student & Under: Free of charge|
Barrier-free : Available
Child Daycare : Seeing-eye dog, Braille sign, Wheelchair available, Lift
Parking : ■Morinomiya Parking/98 lots(General passenger car)
■Osaka Castel Parking/50 lots(Bus)
Visit : A sound guide rental
Discount for the disabled : Free (certificate required)
Discount for the aged : The one older than 65 years old is free of charge（A certificate required）
|INQUIRIES||TEL : 06-6941-3044 FAX : 06-6941-2197|