Among the most famous castles in Japan, Osaka Castle (Osaka-jo) dates back to the 16th century, when it played a major role in unifying the nation. Today the reconstructed castle houses a museum filled with artifacts from the history of Japan and from the castle’s creator, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The main tower provides a nice view over urban Osaka.
As one of Osaka’s most popular landmarks, Osaka Castle features in just about every city sightseeing tour—many of these include an Osaka river cruise departing from Osaka Castle Park. Many of the informative displays within the castle are in Japanese only, so it’s a good idea to visit the grounds with a guide who can explain some of the history of what you’re seeing. The castle is also included on the Osaka hop-on hop-off sightseeing pass.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The castle is a must-see for history buffs and first-time visitors to Osaka.
- Wear comfortable shoes suitable for walking over uneven surfaces.
- Give yourself at least 45 minutes to tour the castle and grounds.
- All areas of the castle are wheelchair and stroller accessible.
How to Get There
Osaka Castle is centrally located in the Umeda district and easily accessible by public transportation. Take the Chuo Line to Tanimachi 4-chome (Yonchome) Station or the JR Osaka Loop Line to Osakajo Koen (Osakajokoen) Station. Alternatively take the Aqua-Liner sightseeing boat to the Osaka Castle stop.
When to Get There
The museum within the castle is open daily from 9am to 5pm, and the structure itself remains illuminated from sunset until 11pm. Home to some 4,000 cherry trees, the castle grounds are particularly stunning during the spring cherry blossom (sakura) season, typically in early April.
A Royal Photo Op
Castle visitors looking to take home a unique souvenir have the chance to don a full set of period clothing—replete with helmet, surcoat, and kimono—for a quick castle photo op (not included in the price of admission).