Toyotomi Hideyoshi built Osaka-jo in 1583. Hideyoshi, being the great battle expert he was, designed the most formidable castle ever built in Japan. One large moat surrounded the whole castle with only two ways across it. One of those was a small bridge that could be easily defended or even destroyed if necessary. The inner grounds which contained the large main keep were actually built 3 levels above the water level of the moat. Any attacker would have to scale three high stone walls and climb over 3 sets of turrets to get to the inner grounds.
No castle is invincible and in 1615 it fell to the Tokugawa forces. Hideyoshi's heir, Hideyori, committed suiced before being captured. In 1620 Tokugawa completely renovated the entire castle and built a new main keep making the whole castle even bigger and grander than Hideyoshi's original. In 1665 the main keep was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. It was never rebuilt.
This is a great castle to visit. Unfortunately, some people go straight to the main keep, see the museum and go away disappointed with the elevator and concrete. On my second trip I didn't even go in the museum. The basic layout of the castle is nearly in tact. There are several original gates and yagura and the stone walls are simply amazing. Take your time to enjoy everything Osaka Castle has to offer.
|English Name||Osaka Castle|
|Castle Condition||Reconstructed main keep|
|Designations||Top 100 Castles, has Important Cultural Properties, Special Historic Site|
|Historical Period||Edo Period|
|Main Keep Structure||5 levels, 8 stories|
|Year Reconstructed||1931 (concrete)|
|Artifacts||Sengan Yagura, Inui Yagura, Kinmeisui Ido Yakata, Rokuban Yagura, Ichiban yagura, Enshogura, Gokinzo, Tamon Yagura, Otemon, Sakura mon, castle walls|
|Features||main keep, gates, turrets, bridges, water moats, stone walls, walls|
|Access||JR Osakajo Koen Station|
|Visitor Information||Main Keep museum open 9am-5pm; 600 yen; Closed Dec 28-Jan 1|
|Time Required||3 hours|
|Coordinates||34° 41' 15", 135° 31' 33"|
|Year Visited||1997, 2012, 2013, 2017|
|Visits||December 1997; March 18, 2012; July 28, 2017|