Osaka Castle, known in Japanese as Osakaike-Itami Grand Palace, is a historical landmark in Japan and an UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also one of the most visited castles in Japan and abroad.
Osaka Castle was built in 1477 by Takada Yorihane, a daimy (a lower-level military officer) who was charged with defending the emperor’s person and property during his travels.
After being promoted to daimy regal (an official position that gives higher status than regular military officers) in 1495, Yorihane began building Osaka Castle as his residence. His wife helped him with the construction effort, and they used gold leaf to finish it off.
At that time, Osaka was just a small city with only one castle. It had not been protected by a strong daimy since those early days, resulting in many mistakes on his part. He wanted to make sure that he had enough resources to defend his castle against any invaders.
Convenience of Osaka castle
If you are planning on spending a long time at Osaka castle, then you should consider coming early. As the castle is a national treasure, it goes by the good-for-you rule.
You can enter at any time of the day. You can go as slow or fast as you want. In fact, it was used as a military training ground for World War II.
Today, it is protected as a historical site and an UNESCO world heritage site. You will enjoy exploring this place in safety because of its modern security system. Plus, if you are doing some sightseeing or if you are sitting out in the grounds to relax and enjoy nature, then going early will save you some unnecessary rush and trip expenses.
Early access is when people get advance tickets to something, usually before it sells out. You can see the beauty of Osaka castle from wherever you sit.
Things to see at Osaka castle
While visiting Osaka castle, you will see a lot of beautiful things. There are many places to visit in and around the castle, so do not worry about being too organized and finding everything when you arrive!
There are several places to see within the castle, so do not feel like you need to go all the way inside the main structure at least. You can find various courtyards and public spaces where historical figures lived and worked, as well as a chapel where they prayed.
The most popular places to visit are the preserved residences, like Grand Duke Hodes House or Princess Oda’s Residence. Both of these residences have restoration work done on them, so you will definitely be treated to nice looking rooms and walls.
You can also go explore some abandoned buildings, such as those occupied by military forces in the past or those that have recently been used for offices. There is also a museum within the castle where you can learn about all of these preserved structures.
How long should I spend at Osaka castle?
There is a limit to how long you can be in Osaka at any one time. Inside the castle grounds you can spend up to 30 minutes wandering around, however once you start to get noticed by members of the public or security staff you will need to leave.
Most visitors take it upon themselves to wander around the inner castle grounds and visit the various places of interest, including the Great Temple, Hozui-tei Palace, Yamazaki Palace and Meireki-tei Palace. Many people also enjoy strolling through the surrounding parks as well as visiting some of the shrines and temples within close proximity to the castle.
Of course, no visit is complete without taking a stroll through one of the many parks! While walking in nature is not recommended due to knee injury reasons, exploring some of the nearby parks is a nice way to spend some time after touring Osaka Castle.
Where is the best place to sit?
If you are looking to enjoy the castle at its most scenic, then you will want to find a nice location with great views. There are many vantage points around the castle, so don’t be afraid to ask if you can sit in a more privileged position.
Many people enjoy sitting on the roof, where they can look down into the castle and enjoy their view. If you prefer a different view, there are several rooms that can be customized to your liking.
If you have kids who like taking pictures and videos, then you will want to consider how long they can use the camera and video recorder before renting the machine. Having enough storage for all of your devices is a must!
Of course, no attraction is complete without tourists! So it is important to remember who is allowed inside so that we do not restrict access.
What time of day should I visit?
People who visit Osaka Castle at night or in the early hours of morning should keep a close eye on their surroundings. Because it is a highly-secured area, people are advised to
use safe methods of exit to the outside world before the threat of intrusion has dissipated.
As one of Japan’s most popular tourist sites, visitors are expected to be somewhat intoxicated by the time they arrive. This can be problematic when trying to gain access to the castle in the early hours of the morning or during an armed occupation.
Given that guards must be recruited and trained during times like these, people who are unable to provide adequate identification may find themselves in trouble.
Fortunately, guards take this problem seriously and respond quickly when they discover someone has breached security.
Is photography allowed?
There are no natural photographs in the world of Osaka Castle, so if you want to take a picture, you have to go inside!
You can take pictures with a camera-phone or a regular camera, but not the Fujifilm X-T10s, because it is an advanced DSLR.
The Fuji X-T10s has an APS-C size (35mm x 40mm) lens, which is considered medium quality for a camera lens. It does not have a LCD screen like some cameras do, so you must use a dedicated photography app to take your picture.
Should I visit the museum?
The Osaka Castle Museum is a fascinating place to visit. Whether you are a history buff, castle enthusiast, or both, you will enjoy this place.
Located in the southern part of Osaka Castle, the museum is an underground structure. It was used as storage until construction began in the 1930s.
As you walk through the entrance, you will be greeted with a beautiful stone wall and courtyard. You will also find an elevator that takes you down into the structure.
The interior of the museum is beautifully decorated and feels very historic. There are many exhibits that tell different stories about Osaka Castle and its layout. You can even tour the castle on your own!
I would highly recommend going with someone else so you do not get lost or miss any of the important details.
What about food and drinks?
If you plan on shopping or dining at Osaka Castle, you will need to know how long it takes to enjoy your items.
Shin-Osaka-Castle has a strict policy of under half an hour for eating and shopping in main areas and a minimum of one hour for both in the castle. This is due to the crowds that can take over the facility at times.
Under no circumstances are people allowed to spend more than two hours at Osaka Castle, so make sure you have enough time for both shopping and dining at the castle.