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    Osaka Castle is Osaka’s most popular attraction and famous landmark. Osaka Castle sets an imposing sight by day or night from its raised vantage point surrounded by imposing walls and moats.

    Osaka Castle is a flat land style Japanese Castle which features thirteen structures which are designated Important Cultural Properties. There is a museum and an observation deck on the top floor of the main tower (donjon) where you can find a large variety of historical materials and displays.

    Osaka Castle -8366

    Osaka Castle

    At night Osaka Castle is illuminated making an outstanding sight which can be seen from a great distance. The whole of the Osaka Castle complex has been designated as a Special National Historic Site. The castle is located in Chuo Ward in what is now called Osaka Castle Park and is the symbol of the city of Osaka. The park lands surrounding the castle were actually part of the defensive structures around the castle. Today the park lands are most famous for the cherry blossom that can be enjoyed most years around the end of March and the first two weeks of April.

    Osaka Castle seen from the forecourt

    Osaka Castle seen from the forecourt

    The picture above is the most popular view of Osaka Castle. It is taken in the forecourt within the inner walls. The bottom right of the picture you can see the entrance booth to the castle donjon (tower or keep). Behind that are the stairs up to entrance proper to the donjon. The path leads past the Kinmeisui Well. The roof for the well can just be seen above the wall in the front and directly in the middle.

    Osaka Castle History

    Originally built in 1583 by the order of Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the castle has suffered destruction several times throughout its history. The current donjon (main tower) was built in 1931 with the external appearance of the castle built by Hideyoshi Toyotomi. In 1997 the Japanese Government designated the main tower as a Registered Tangible Cultural Property.

    The steep walls which rise close to 30 meters high are made of huge blocks of stone that were transported to Osaka from quarries over 100 km away. The sheer height of the walls and the wide moats they rise above the surrounding plane to make for a grand sight that can be matched by no other castle in Japan. The dolphins on the roof, the ornamental roof tiles and reliefs carved in the shape of tigers are all gilded with gold.

    Gilded Gold Tigers Osaka Castle

    Gilded Gold Tigers Osaka Castle

    Osaka Castle – Important Cultural Properties

    Even though the main tower is a recent reconstruction, there still remains thirteen key parts of the castle complex in original condition that are so significant that the Japanese Government has designated them to be Important Cultural Properties. These are listed below:
    Otemon Gate
    Tamon Turret
    Sengan Turret
    Rokuban-yagura (Turret)
    Enshogura Gunpowder Magazine
    Three sections of castle wall all located around Otemon Gate.

    Sakuramon (Gate) Osaka Castle -8441

    Sakuramon (Gate) Osaka Castle

    Sakuramon (Gate) is effectively the main gate to inner realm of the castle. It is located on the Southern side of the castle tower within the Inner Moat.

    Inui-yagura (Turret) Osaka Castle -8675

    Inui-yagura (Turret) Osaka Castle

    Inui-yagura turrent provided protection to the North Western side of the castle from its raised position on the land between the South Outer Moat and the Inner Moat.

    Ichiban-yagura (Turret) Osaka Castle -8360

    Ichiban-yagura (Turret)

    Ichiban-yagura provided protection to the South Eastern side of the castle from its raised position on the land between the Southern Outer Moat and the Inner Moat.

    Kinmeisui Well and Roof - Osaka Castle

    Kinmeisui Well and Roof

    Kinmeisui Well was the most important well in the castle. Kinmeisui Well was constructed in 1624 including the stone lining. The roof was added two years later. Kinmeisui Well was originally called Ogonsui (Golden Water) Well.

    Kinzo Storehouse Osaka Castle -8512

    Kinzo Storehouse

    Built in 1751 the Kinzo Storehouse was used to store gold and silver coins. The Kinzo Storehouse was referred to as shin-gokinzo (new kinzo) as it replaced an earlier kinzo (moto-gokinzo).

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    1 Review on “Osaka Castle”

    1. Craig Fryer Post authorOsaka Castle
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      While the tower of Osaka Castle is not original, there are still major parts that are. Osaka castle also allows you to see some of the outer moats, walls and grounds that made up the castle, which are no longer found on most other castles.

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