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When asked about popular tourists’ spots in Japan, Osaka Castle may be one of the most common response that we hear. So, what is the history behind this majestic castle and how did it become one of the famous tourist hotspots that we know of today?
Osaka Castle (大坂城 or 大阪城, Ōsaka-jō), is in Chūō-ku, one of the 23 wards of Osaka, Japan. Its construction started in the year 1583 and was completed by 1597, by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, during the Azuchi-Momoyama period. (Wikipedia, 2019). Osaka Castle was modelled after Azuchi Castle but outdid it in terms of size and grandeur. Azuchi Castle was the stronghold of Oda Nobunaga, one of the three great unifiers of Japan.
Toyotomi Hideyoshi was a powerful feudal warlord and the second of the three-great unifier of Japan, and Osaka Castle was built to display his might after the unification of Japan under his rule (Matt De Sousa, n.d.). However, Hideyoshi died the following year and Osaka Castle was destroyed during the attack by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the last of the three great unifiers of Japan, in 1615 (John Asano, 2017). Ironically, Osaka Castle was later rebuilt by the third son of Ieyasu, Tokugawa Hidetada, in 1626 (Burke, 2017). Lightning struck and the castle was burned down in 1665, razed down again during the Meiji Restoration era in 1868 and badly damaged in 1931 during World War II (John Asano, 2017).
Osaka Castle underwent restoration projects several times but was also destroyed several times during the process, until it was fully restored in 1997 (Japan-guide.com, n.d.). It, however, was recognized as a historical site and was repaired. It opened in 1948 to the public.
Modern day Osaka Castle is a monumental castle that was dealt with several setbacks, but continuously improved to become what it is today. It is “a beautiful testament to traditional architecture.”, with the colour scheme and design that is on the castle itself. The castle itself has been turned into a museum, where visitors can learn about the history of the castle and try some activities in the castle itself (Japan-guide.com, n.d.). Also, in the castle, are elevators to make it easier for visitors to move about the castle (Japan-guide.com, n.d.).