Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle, also known as Osaka-jo, was constructed by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, and is located in current Osaka's Chuo-ku. This modern-day landmark played a major role during the Azuchi Momoyama Era in the sixteenth century. The castle is built on a landfill platform, supported by cut rocks. This way of building is called "Burdock piling," named after the similar looking Japanese burdock plant. The castle itself is eight stories high, and today the inside has been transformed into a museum with artifacts and weapons on display.

Now, the castle is open to the public and anyone can enter with tickets. As you walk into the castle, you're greeted by a super-modern lobby, which resembles that of high-class hotel rather than a museum. While sleek and beautiful, the lobby left me with a mixed feeling of regret and yearning for a traditional atmosphere, but I also admit I welcomed the I-can-definitely-use-the-restroom-here relief! (I can't help feeling that restrooms at historical locations tend to be quite dirty...)

The view from the top of the castle on the 8th floor is breathtaking, and makes you imagine what Toyotomi Hideyoshi may have been thinking as he looked down at the city from there.

Osaka Castle is located in the middle of Osaka-jo Koen (Park) and is a leisurely 15-20 minute walk from Osakajokoen Station or Tenmabashi Station. It may sound long to walk for 15 ~ 20 minutes, but the park is filled with beautiful greenery and many other things to look at, so you'll be there before you know it!

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