With its iconic style, Osaka Castle continues to fascinate and amaze more than three million visitors per year . It is undoubtedly Osaka's most popular city activity and when you see its traditional architecture and know its fascinating history, it is not surprising that so many people take the trouble to do the travel to see it with your own eyes.
The construction of the castle.
It was in 1583 that the first stones of Osaka Castle were laid. The construction of the castle was supervised by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, one of the three great unifiers of Japan during the Sengoku period. He was also a well-respected warlord.
The castle is built on the remains of the Hongan-ji temple of Ishiyama, the ancient temple of the sect of the same name. It was initially intended to be a replica of Oda Castle, but it will ultimately be much more imposing with its eight floors, three of which are underground in its stone base.
Azuchi Castle which served as a model for Osaka Castle, source: Wikipedia
Its construction only lasted two years and it was therefore completed in 1585 thanks to the hard work of more than 100,000 workers . However, only the main tower was then fully constructed and Toyotomi continued to expand the castle over the next few years to make it more difficult to besiege. Osaka Castle was the largest castle in Japan for its time.
The history of the castle over the ages.
Once the construction of the castle was completed, a period of peace began to settle in after years of civil war. Osaka Castle indeed became the center of the new unified Japan and very few considered besieging it as it was so impressive for its time.
The first damage.
Unfortunately, the grandeur and presence of this building are not enough to resist the forces of nature. Only eleven years after its construction, Osaka Castle was damaged by the Keicho Fushimi earthquake in 1596.
It was immediately rebuilt and enlarged and the year 1598 marked the end of its construction. Unfortunately, this year also marks the death of the initiator of this titanic project, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. The castle will then be bequeathed to his son Toyotomi Hideyori.
It would only be two years before Tokugawa Ieyasu withdrew his troops from Osaka Castle in order to aspire to become shogun of Japan himself, which would happen in 1603.
The castle under siege.
Although very weakened since the death of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and the departure of Tokugawa Ieyasu's troops, the new shogun, Osaka Castle and his successor Toyotomi Hideyori would not allow themselves to be besieged so easily.
image source: culture trip
In 1614, Osaka Castle was besieged by 200,000 men led by Tokugawa Ieyasu. However, they will not succeed in taking the castle from the hands of the Tokugawa Ieyasu clan which is however defended by only half of the attackers.
Unfortunately, while Toyotomi Hideyori rebuilt the castle and strengthened it, in 1615 Osaka Castle fell to the second siege led by Tokugawa Ieyasu. This assault also marks the end of the Toyotomi clan.
After the siege of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Osaka Castle was naturally in a very poor state. It was rebuilt in 1620 by the shogun's heir, Tokugawa Hidetada.
However, in 1665 the castle keep caught fire and it would be almost 200 years before the castle was restored. In 1843 the castle was rebuilt but the Meiji Restoration (1868) caused it to fall again due to the wars waged between the various clans.
Finally, the castle will be rebuilt again and then damaged during the Second World War under air raids carried out by the American army.
Osaka Castle today.
Since its reconstruction in 1997, Osaka Castle has not been damaged. It is now possible to visit it and we take this opportunity to strongly recommend it to you. Particularly during the hanami period when you can enjoy the numerous cherry trees in its six-hectare park.In the same romantic spirit, we take this opportunity to recommend the perfect Princess boutique where you will find something to make any little girl happy.