Visiting Osaka Castle, Japan

Osaka Castle (called Osaka-jo in Japanese) is the city’s top tourist attraction, and for good reason: It’s a breathtaking sight that dominates the skyline on the entire east side of the city. It’s worth going there to see it from the outside, but if you don’t like the overly modern reconstruction, skip the interior visit and spend more time in the park.

Osaka Castle is one of the city’s most famous landmarks and is certainly Osaka’s main tourist attraction. It can be seen from most vantage points in the city, and from a distance it offers stunning views, standing out on the Higashi-Osaka skyline. The original castle, completed in 1583, was attacked and destroyed several times, most recently in an air raid during World War II. The current castle was a concrete reconstruction completed in 1995.

Overall, it’s not as interesting as Himeji Castle, which is the original structure. However, Osaka Castle is at least worth a visit to the castle grounds – they are beautiful from the outside. The views from the top floor are great – although there are just as many high-rise observation decks elsewhere in Osaka – and the floors below have wonderful displays about the history of the castle. If the queue for the elevator is long, take the stairs. But overall, we don’t necessarily recommend actually going inside the castle unless you consider it a personal must-do; we think it’s more worthwhile to enjoy the surrounding park.