The Osaka-Jo Castle dates back to 1583 and was once the largest castle in the whole of Japan. Today it is one of Osaka’s most popular tourist attractions along with the Osaka city museum which is located beside the castle.
The castle has had a checkered past, it has had quite a few rebuilds and renovations throughout its lifetime including being destroyed by the armies of Tokugawa Ieyasu and even burnt down in 1868 but was restored in 1931 and refurbished in 1997 and is now a historical site which it has been since 1948.
There are a series of good displays inside the castle which trace the history of the castle through the Toyotomi period to the present day and much of Osaka’s most significant historical and cultural artifacts also are displayed at the castle.
Visitors looking for a spectacular view of Osaka should climb to the observatory deck on the 8th floor where there are brilliant panoramic views of the city.
The former Osaka City Museum sits right next to the castle, but its replacement known as the Osaka Museum of History sits on the edge of the castle grounds and is also a worthy attraction to visit while visiting the castle area. This new museum houses many of the treasures of Osaka and lots of historic artifacts dating back to the Paleolithic Age right up to today. The museum also has regular exhibitions and an excellent gift shop. The new museum is attached to the NHK building that also have a great gift shop featuring many of the fun characters from NHK television.
Another worthy museum in the area is the Osaka International Peace Centre where the display documents the horrors of World War II. The display shows the evils and pain that Japan caused and was inflicted during this horrible time in history, included is a moving display on the atomic bombings of 1945. The second floor of the centre is dedicated to the air raids that destroyed much of the city during World War II.
The Castle and museums are a short 15-minute walk from the Tanimachi 4 chome station on Subway Tanimachi or Chuo line.