Osaka Castle is located in the eastern and most historic section of Osaka, Chuo-ku.
The term “castle” in Japanese refers to the entire compound or campus, not just the main keep or donjon.
In addition to its history, Osaka Castle is visited for its classic Japanese architecture that features the Main Tower’s eight guilded roof top dolphins, ornamental roof tiles and reliefs carved in the shape of tigers. Some of the castle’s support structures include a Gunpowder Storehouse, Treasure House which formerly housed silver and gold, The Well-house of Kinmei-sui, as well as single and multi-storied turrets.
The grounds of Osaka Castle host the Nishi-no-maru Garden. The garden boasts over 600 cherry trees along with blooming azaleas. Situated in the garden is the Hoshoan tea house which serves the city of Osaka’s most luxurious tea ceremony.
Originally constructed in 1598 by nearly 60,000 laborers, Osaka Castle was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the first unifier of the Japanese people, on the former site of the Ishiyama Honganji Temple, which had been destroyed by a fire in 1580.
Early in the 17th century, amidst a war the Osaka Castle was demolished. Tokugawa Shogunate, Japan’s new leader ordered that the castle be rebuilt with “walls twice as tall”.
In the mid 1660’s lightening struck an explosives warehouse and the subsequent fire was contained.
However, for the third time in Osaka Castle’s history it suffered major damage in 1783, this time to the Main Tower when lightening struck again.
While the outlying buildings were restored in the mid-19th century, the Main Tower remained damaged until the citizens of Osaka voluntarily contributed for its refurbishing. The restoration effort of the Main Tower of Osaka Castle was completed in 1931.
World War II and a typhoon in the 1950’s plagued the castle with more damage, necessitating its 1995 renovation.