Osaka, Japan Feb. 28 Wed 11:50AM
One of Osaka's Great Landmarks
Osaka Castle is one of the great landmarks in Osaka.
This 8 story castle was once the center of Japan, when Hideyoshi Toyotomi started its construction in 1583 and when he ruled the wartorn country in 1590. Unfortunately, this castle was devastated when the Toyotomi clan was terminated by the Tokugawa clan who inaugurated the government in Edo (Tokyo), and was then destroyed by both lightening and fire.
The current castle was first restored in 1931. At that time, it was a state of the art building equipped with an elevator. Then, Osaka Castle was revived again through renovation conducted from 1995 to 1997. In a way, it might disappoint visitors who love original architecture and artifacts. However, that should not discourage people from visiting the castle. The current incarnation of Osaka Castle has many attractions that can’t be found at other original castles. As mentioned before, since the building is equipped with an elevator, those with mobility issues can enjoy every level. This building has a plenty of displays that help visitors learn about the castle. For example, on the third floor, there are miniaturized models of the original. On the fourth floor, visitors can learn the history of the Sengoku period when provincial wars were widespread throughout the country and many warlords tried to rule Japan, including Hideyoshi Toyotomi. On the fifth floor, there are visual displays and miniaturized models to introduce “Osaka Natsu no Jin” (Great Summer Battle in Osaka), when the Toyotomi clan was completely destroyed and the castle was dominated in 1615. And from the eighth floor, which is 50 meters (164 feet) high, there is a beautiful view of downtown Osaka. Also on the eighth floor, there is a device called “Stereo Scope Naniwa Fukei." With this device, one can see how old Osaka looked.
In addition, the castle is illuminated every evening until 11:00 p.m. The castle looks magnificient against the city skyline.
When visiting Osaka Castle, it is better to prepare for walking, and hiking. Osaka Castle is surrounded by an inside moat and an outside moat, and located inside a large park, called Osaka Castle Park.
For those who come to the castle in the end of February, the plum forest is worth exploring. There are about 100 different varieties of plum trees and about 1,300 trees are planted here. Some are white, some are pink and the others are violet. The plum forest can be found at east side of the inside moat. And when April starts, Osaka Castle Park is surrounded beautiful cherry blossoms. There are about 4,000 cherry trees in the premises.
Whether to enjoy the peaceful park or the castle itself, Osaka Castle is a must!