Osaka castle is a wonderfully historic castle in Japan that has played a huge part in a number of events over the last five hundred years. Most notably, history buffs will be able to tell you that it played a major role in the unification of Japan, during the sixteenth century.
If you’re visiting Japan then we completely get that you’d want to check out Osaka castle – historical sites are great! Before you get on your way there, though, there are a few things that you might like to know. Without further ado, let’s talk about everything you might need to know about Osaka castle.
Table of Contents
- Osaka Castle History
- What Is Inside Osaka Castle & How Long Will It Take To ‘Do’ It?
- How To Get To Osaka Castle
- When Is Osaka Castle Open? & How Much Does It Cost To Visit?
- Food & Drink Near Osaka Castle
Osaka Castle History
Osaka castle is a beautiful historical site. Construction began in 1583 and finished shortly after to be the largest castle at the time. The castle was built to be the centre of a new, unified Japan.
Over the coming years, a huge number of historical events rocked the foundation of the castle. For example, Tokugawa troops attacked and destroyed the castle in order to terminate the Toyotomi lineage.
Shortly after that, the castle was rebuilt, only for the main tower to be struck by lightning and burn down forty years later.
In the twentieth century, the castle was hugely repaired and fortified to bring it up to the strong, imposing status that it holds now.
In 1931 iron and concrete were used to reconstruct the castle tower, and then in 1997 repair works helped to give the castle glamour.
The castle tower, interestingly, is entirely modern on the inside and includes an elevator to make getting around a little easier.
That castle tower is surrounded by a number of citadels, gates, and turrets – plus some beautiful moats.
The Nishinomaru Garden is a beautiful lawn garden with six hundred cherry trees, a beautiful tea house, the former Osaka guest house, and wonderful views to boot. Unlike the rest of the castle grounds, the garden itself requires an admission fee.
What Is Inside Osaka Castle & How Long Will It Take To ‘Do’ It?
Osaka castle is a sprawling piece of land, which covers roughly 15 acres. The grounds themselves require no admission fee whatsoever and are utterly beautiful if you’d like to take some time away from the hustle and bustle and fall in love with this little piece of nature.
Walking around the grounds will almost certainly not take a long time – it’s designed to be walked through by the general public, meaning that the walk is neither long nor taxing.
The castle tower itself is the only part of the complex that you have to pay to enter. After you’ve paid the entrance fee – which we’ll mention just below – you can get in and absorb some really fascinating history.
There are options to either take the stairs or the elevator, but we’d really recommend the elevator – this building has eight floors!
Across those eighth floors, you’ll find exhibits about the castle itself, exhibits about Toyotomi Hideyoshi (who built the castle), and a stellar observation deck.
If you’re a fan of museums, you’ll definitely enjoy your time there. It’s very easy to wander through while getting lost in tales – you’ll lose the best part of a day absorbing exhibits.
If you don’t enjoy museums, you might feel like this tower is a little bit of a waste of time and money. Of course, it’s all up to you!
How To Get To Osaka Castle
How To Get To Osaka Castle From Namba
Namba is a great place to stay when visiting Osaka and is less than 5km from Osaka castle.
If the weather is nice, and you’re feeling up to it then you could choose to walk as you’ll only see elevation as you approach the castle (which you’ll have to walk up anyway, unfortunately) and the journey is likely to take you around an hour.
Alternatively, however, you could take the metro from JR Namba to Osaka castle.
This would cost 230 yen per person and would require a change at Tanimachi to the Tanimachiyonchome station which is the closest station to Osaka Castle on the Tanimachi line.
You could get off the Sen-Nichimae line at Tsuruhashi and instead transfer to the JR Osaka Loop Line, therefore getting off at Morinomiya Station at the right-hand side of Osaka Castle Park. However, this will increase the cost to 300 yen per person.
How To Get From Osaka Castle To Umeda Sky Building
If you’re planning on only spending a short time in Osaka then you may find yourself visiting two of the most popular attractions in one day; Osaka Castle and the Umeda Sky Building.
Whether you’re looking to travel from Osaka Castle to Umeda Sky Building or Umeda Sky Building to Osaka Castle, the route you’ll take is the same (just in reverse).
In this case, the best station to or from Osaka Castle is going to be Morinomiya Station which is around a 1.4km walk through the castle park to the castle itself.
This station connects to the JR Osaka Loop line that you can get to Osaka Station which is around 900m from the entrance of the Umeda Sky Building.
To Osaka Castle: From Osaka Station, to Morinomiya Station the train leaves from Platform 2.
To Umeda Sky Building: From Morinomiya Station to Osaka Station, the train leaves from Platform 1.
How To Get From Osaka Castle To Osaka Aquarium
With more than 29,000 animals, Osaka Aquarium is one of the largest aquariums in the world.
It’s a great attraction to visit during a trip to Osaka – especially if it’s raining. Getting from Osaka Castle to Osaka Aquarium is surprisingly simple, despite the limited location of Osaka Aquarium.
From Osaka Castle, you’ll want to walk to Osakako Station where you’ll board the Chuo Line to Tanimachiyonchome Station.
Tickets cost 280 Yen per person / 8 stops / 16 minutes.
Tanimachiyonchome Station is the closest metro station to Osaka Aquarium and will require an 850m walk.
If you’re coming from Osaka Castle Station you’ll need to take the Osaka Loop Line to Bentencho Station. From here you can then change onto the Chuo Subway Line.
How To Go From Osaka Castle To Dotonbori
Whether you’re planning on going from Osaka Castle to Dotonbori or Dotonbori to Osaka Castle the route you’ll take is the same (only in reverse).
Osaka Castle is situated approximately 4.3km from Dotonbori. If you’re feeling up to it you could walk the route – even if you take the metro around 1.2km of the walk is necessary through the gardens to get to the top of the castle and should take you around an hour.
Alternatively, if you’re looking at taking public transport then you’ll want to head from Osaka Castle to Morinomiya Station.
From here you’ll take the Nagahoritsurumiryokuchi line to Shinsaibashi Station which is just north of Dotonbori (around 850m / 10-minute walk) the cost of a one-way ticket is 230 Yen.
The above route requires zero changes. However, there are some other routes you could take if you don’t mind making a change at a station. This doesn’t save you any money on the ticket price, or time.
In fact, it likely increases your chances of getting lost. However, it might be suitable if you’re wanting to arrive at or leave from a different station in the Dotonbori region.
Walk from Osaka Castle to Morinomiya Station and board the Chuo Line. From there you could;
Transfer at Hommachi Station onto the Midosuji Line bound of Tennoji. Here you’ll come off at Namba Station where you’ve around a 3-minute walk to Dotonburi
or you could come off the Chuo Line at Awaza Station and then change to the Sen-Nichimae to Namba Station. Again from here, you’ll find this a 3-minute walk to Dotonburi.
Osakajokoen Station To Osaka Castle
If you’re coming from in and around Osaka then you may find yourself at Osakajokoen Station. Osakajokoen Station is one of the closest stations to Osaka Castle and is around 1.5km from the castle.
Osakajokoen Station is aligned with the corner of Osaka Castle Park which makes navigating from Osakajokoen Station To Osaka Castle pretty simple.
You can simply follow the signs (in both Japanese and English) up past Shiromi Hall to the castle.
This map below highlights the route you would take when travelling from Osakajokoen Station to Osaka Castle.
When Is Osaka Castle Open? & How Much Does It Cost To Visit?
Osaka castle really comprises of two separate sections: the castle tower itself, and Nishinomaru Garden which surrounds the tower.
The castle tower’s opening hours are from 9am to 5pm. However, you can only get into the tower until half-past four. If you’re within the tower at that point, then you get still spend your time in the tower until five p.m. Sometimes the opening hours of the tower are extended, for example during holidays or certain exhibitions.
The admission fee for the castle tower is 600 yen, which is a surprisingly large fee. However, as we said above, museum lovers will likely consider the fee worth it – the museum inside is really good!
Nishinomaru Garden, which surrounds the tower, has the exact same opening hours as the castle tower – including the 16:30 detail. However, through the cherry blossom season, the hours are extended to nine p.m., since the army of beautiful trees is a huge tourist attraction.
The admission fee to the garden is 200 yen, which is a small fee – therefore certainly worth paying. The fee rises a little during cherry blossom season to 350 yen, and honestly, that fee is worth paying as well.
The contents of both the garden and the tower are wonderful, and we’d recommend paying that little bit of money to experience them.
If you do plan on visiting Nishinomaru garden, then bear in mind that it is closed on Mondays. If the Monday itself was a national holiday, then it is closed on the next day instead. This is just the kind of small detail that it’s easy to overlook that could ruin a day’s adventure, so bear it in mind!
Food & Drink Near Osaka Castle
The surrounding city is very dense, packed with skyscrapers full of businesspeople doing deals with open collars and slightly loosened ties. This means that when you leave the castle, there are plenty of different bars and restaurants nearby for you to pop into for a meal before heading back to your hotel.
This sounds like a truly wonderful way to end the day. You can spend hours of your day back in the sixteenth century with history and ancient architecture, only to spend the evening in the twenty-first century where you can order some amazing Japanese cuisine.
If you don’t want to sit down, there are typically a number of street vendors in the Osaka Castle area that will supply you with a small snack or meal for you to eat on the grounds of the castle.
We’d recommend packing a little bento box if you’re heading towards the garden – there are few places in the world that would be better for a great picnic.
If you’d like to know how to get to Osaka Castle from any other destinations in or around Osaka. Then feel free to leave us a comment below and we’ll do our best to get back to you.