Once the uphill part was over we entered the actual grounds of the castle and got up close to some of the enormous pieces of rock carved out to make the castle outer walls. The one below was huge and I still can’t wrap my head around how craftsmen from centuries ago were able to drag this thing all the way up here.
Before going to Osaka Castle we stopped by the Osaka Museum of History located in the same building as NHK across the street from the castle grounds. You can get tickets for both the Museum and Osaka Castle there for 900 Yen .If bought separately it would normally total 1200 Yen. The museum exhibit shows the history of the city of Osaka going back to ancient times. There are also spectacular views of the castle from the higher floors.
Osaka Castle is surrounded by a nice park and I could tell it was a popular spot for the locals ,especially for those trying to get some cardio . Later I found out why. The approach to the castle has a lot of uphill slopes but I was happy to do some cardio after eating countless takoyaki balls earlier for lunch.
It was really an imposing structure even from afar. The moat that surrounded it was murky and the wall that protected it was immense. I couldn’t help but think how many samurai perished trying to get into the castle and how many died trying to protect it. I read Osaka Castle was burnt to the ground once by Tokugawa troops and somehow scenes from Kurosawa’s ‘Ran’ started playing in my head .I thought to myself I wouldn’t last as a samurai protecting these grounds as I huffed and puffed while walking uphill for what felt like an hour.
The castle was built centuries ago but it has certainly been updated inside to accommodate the thousands of tourists that visit it . There’s an elevator that takes tourists to the top floor and the museum inside was filled with samurai armor, portraits and paintings of different historical battles. There’s even a souvenir shop and for a fee you can dress up in samurai armor to have your pictures taken.
I was partly disappointed that the interior of the castle was so updated. For some reason, I pictured in my head the interior staying just like it was when Hideyoshi Toyotomi occupied it. Completely ignoring the fact that it’s been burnt down and reconstructed multiple times and that the current version was built in the 1930s.
We encountered some interesting characters outside the castle on our way home.This one guy was just playing with his falcon striking up a conversation with curious onlookers.