Our visit to Osaka Castle during the Cherry Blossom Festival was absolutely wonderful. We dined at a gorgeous rooftop restaurant for lunch, made the climb to the castle’s top level observatory deck to see an incredible view of Osaka city, and had plenty of time left to stroll the castle grounds and garden, walking amongst the 600 stunning cherry blossoms in full bloom under the warm, blue skies before the heavens opened up and rained for a few hours. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting Osaka Castle.
Address: 1-1 Osakajo, Chuo Ward,
Osaka, 540-0002, Japan
Hours: 9am – 5pm Daily
Nearest Station: Tanimachi Yonchome Station along
the Tanimachi and Chuo subway lines
Handicap Accessible: Only a few floors, and the castle grounds
Osaka Castle was built in 1583 as a symbol of a unified Japan during the Samurai Era by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who was, at the time, controlling Japan. Osaka Castle has been destroyed to various degrees and rebuilt half a dozen times over its 436 year history, but has always remained one of Japan’s many symbols of national pride. A visit to Osaka Castle is more than just a visit to a building, it’s a look into Japan’s rich and storied history, it’s a chance to learn more about Japanese culture and architecture, plus there’s lots to do in the area surrounding the castle, especially during cherry blossom season.
The gorgeous green roof of the castle is made entirely from copper that has been aged over the decades by the weather, and the golden accents of the castle are made partially of actual gold, which makes the castle shine in the sunlight. Nearly all of the castle’s original architecture was used when the castle required repairs, so it looks nearly identical to the way it would have more than 400 years ago.
The Western Citadel Gardens of the castle have 600 beautiful cherry trees visitors can walk under, and a Japanese tea house. Admission to the gardens varies by age and time of year, but is around ¥200 – ¥350 yen. The entrance fee to the gardens helps maintain the grounds and ensure that the natural beauty continues for years to come.
When touring the castle, keep in mind that the only way to climb to the top of the castle, and see the view of the city from Osaka Castle’s Observation Deck, is to climb seven flights of stairs. There is an elevator that goes part way up the castle, but the line for the elevator during cherry blossom season had an hour wait, and still did not go up to the very top of the castle.
Inside the castle, visitors can learn about the elaborate and ornate clothing worn by nobility and military personnel during different periods of the castle’s history, see hand written letters and decrees from the occupants of the castle, and lots of beautiful treasures like jewels, samurai regalia, and much more. Visitors can even try on samurai attire and have their photograph taken for ¥500. The castle also has lots of interesting video displays depicting the history of Japan as it relates to Osaka Castle, in Japanese with English, Korean, and Chinese subtitles. Information pamphlets are available in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.
Within the castle grounds, there is a restaurant with a rooftop terrace featuring incredible views of Osaka and the cherry trees, called Crossfield which is open from 10am – 10pm daily. If you visit the castle and work up an appetite, I highly recommend stopping here and enjoying the view, but be sure to place a reservation early, as the restaurant fills up quickly.
Our total time spent within the castle grounds was just over 4 hours, including the time it took to get our tickets at the ticket booth, go through the castle and up to the observation level, then enjoy a meal at Crossfield and wander the grounds. If you’re in Osaka, you can’t miss this iconic architectural and cultural masterpiece.
Until next time!
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