Front of Osaka Castle.
Credit: Nina Bernardi
The scars erased
A little out of the center, surrounded by skyscrapers and a wall that gives it a fortress-like appearance, Osaka-jo watches over the city, an imposing and majestic castle known throughout the archipelago.
Burned, destroyed and rebuilt, ransacked and destroyed... The history of the building is written in conquests and battles. Having unified Japan, - the gouverneur daimyo in feudal times - Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598) decided to build a symbol of power, defense and grandeur in Osaka.
Originally made of granite, Osaka-jo was completed in 1583. The last unifier of Japan, Tokugawa Ieyasu (1543-1616), destroyed it in 1615, the site ... was rebuilt in the 1620s by his own son Tokugawa Hidetada (1579-1632). The centuries that followed saw a succession of fires and destruction, including that of 1868, when the Tokugawa Shogunate lost power and Osaka-jo.
In 1931, the main tower was rebuilt; during the Second World War, the castle was spared. It underwent major renovation in 1997. Rebuilt in the twentieth century, granite however gave way to concrete.
Composed of eight floors, the donjon - the site had a military function - has a large collection of weapons, armor and everyday objects of the castle, gathered together in the Museum of Osaka-jo (free for children under 15, 600 yen per adult).
From the eighth floor there is a panorama of the city well worth the few steps you have to climb. Once you come back down, enjoy the park and its six hundred cherry trees, and see the moat, turrets and gates that are keeping watch. The authenticity has gone, the setting hasn't.