A traditional castle in the middle of a bustling city

osaka castle
[table] Website, Address, 1-1 Osakajo Chuo Ward Osaka. Osaka Prefecture 540-0002 Japan How to get there:, The closest metro stations are Osakajo Koen (JR) and Tanimachi 4-chome (Chuo line) Hours:, Park opens at 9 am and museum closes at 5pm (but the park may be open later) Price:, $ Entrance to the park is free. Museum is free for children under 15 and 600¥ for adults. Street food is fairly priced (300-500¥). Observation deck and photo ops also have small fees. Tourist friendliness:, As a tier 1 attraction the park is very tourist friendly. All of the workers there can understand English (and sometimes Chinese). The park is easy to navigate and there are plenty of tourists who may be able to point you to the restrooms or take your pictures. [/table]

Quick Tips

When's the best time to visit? Anytime. The park is known to be beautiful year-round and even in the cold winter, there are so many people enjoying it. At night, the castle is lit up and takes on a whole different kind of beauty. It is particularly pretty during spring time when cherry blossoms bloom. Who should I go with? Anyone! this place suits children and adults alike, and going alone or going with a big group should be fine; plenty of gardens to explore, and a museum for people who are into the history and culture. Is it worth multiple visits? I think it would be worth visiting in different times of year to see the seasons changing in the gardens. Great for: a history lesson with a view, an #obligatory IG post Don't miss: the rest of the castle grounds! With 13 historical structures and several gardens, it's worth wandering around the park for a couple hours.   osaka castle kansai japan Osaka Castle was the first thing I saw on Google Images when preparing myself for my trip to Kansai. It was only fitting that it became the first thing I stared at after arriving. It’s one of those things that is so recognizable and well-known worldwide but definitely lives up to the hype. It is the perfect place to learn about Japanese culture and history. Osaka Castle was built in the 16th century and played a role in the unification of Japan. Over the centuries, it has seen many wars and many rulers, but the majestic main tower has been maintained so well over the years and the iconic sea foam green roofs and gold detail still shine bright today. Visitors can check out the museum to learn more about the history, or admire the view of the park and surrounding city from the observation deck.
map of osaka castle
  The park itself is worth exploring. There is an outer moat and an inner moat, with the 8-story (3 of them are hidden under the stone base) main tower at the innermost center. Throughout the rest of the park, there are 13 other historical structures, built at different points in history,  that can be explored.
For those who appreciate cultural education through their tastebuds, the inner grounds closest to the main tower has a row of storefronts and food trucks that sell traditional Japanese bites, such as mitarashi dango (read: mochi kabob) and Japanese flavored ice cream cones (aka matcha, hokkaido cream, etc), that can be enjoyed at the benches and picnic tables while admiring the historic architecture.
DSC_4800 Osaka Castle is definitely not one of those “drive-by” attractions where you run in, grab a photo and go. It is well worth your time to explore the surrounding park, dotted with historical structures and garden enclaves. Some of my favorite surprises were the Hokoku Jinja shrine and the plum blossom garden. Hokoku Jinja was built to honor Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the leader who built the castle back in 1585. The cluster of green-roofed structures transported me to a different era and was a peaceful walk away from the crowded main tower. osaka castle kansai osaka castle kansai DSC_4828     I discovered the plum blossom garden accidentally, after making a couple wrong turns while trying to exit. Visiting in late February, the famous cherry trees had yet to bloom, but the plum trees were already marking the start of spring, adding dots of color to the wintery landscape. I imagine this expansive urban park to be a beautiful place for a stroll all year round. plum blossom osaka castle