Osaka castle is one of my favorite place in Japan due to its ridiculous story.
Castle construction began in 1583, but has been destroyed and rebuilt multiple times by different rulers. When Toyotomi Hideyoshi took over, the castle was the largest in Japan at the time, being marked as the center of Japan.
After Hideyoshi died, the castle was destroyed by Tokugawa troops and rebuilt by Tokugawa Hidetada in 1620.
In 1665, the castle was burnt down due to it being struck down by lightening.
However, during the war it miraculously survived the city wide air raids, so they decided to work on the castle, giving a new design in 1997. The castle tower is now entirely modern on the inside and even features an elevator for easier accessibility.
The castle is now surrounded by secondary citadels, gates, turrets, impressive stone walls and moats. The Nishinomaru Garden, encompassing the former “western citadel”, is a lawn garden with 600 cherry trees, a tea house, the former Osaka Guest House and nice views of the castle tower from below. Unlike most of the rest of the castle grounds, the garden requires an admission fee.
The entire Osaka Castle Park covers about two square kilometers with lots of green space, sport facilities, a multi-purpose arena (Osakajo Hall) and a shrine dedicated to Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The park is one of Osaka’s most popular hanami spot during the cherry blossom season.