Osaka Castle is one of Japan’s most famous, and played a major role in the unification of Japan during the sixteenth century of the Azuchi-Momoyama period.
In 1583 Toyotomi Hideyoshi commenced construction on the site of the Ikkō-ikki temple of Ishiyama Hongan-ji.
The basic plan was modeled after Azuchi Castle, the headquarters of Oda Nobunaga. Toyotomi wanted to build a castle that mirrored Oda’s, but surpassed it in every way: the plan featured a five-story main tower, with three extra stories underground, and gold leaf on the sides of the tower to impress visitors.
In 1600 Tokugawa Ieyasu defeated his opponents at the Battle of Sekigahara, and started his own bakufu in Edo. In 1614 Tokugawa attacked Hideyori in the winter, starting the Siege of Osaka. Although the Toyotomi forces were outnumbered approximately 2 to 1, they managed to fight off Tokugawa’s 200,000-man army and protect the castle’s outer walls. Tokugawa had the castle’s outer moat filled, negating one of the castle’s main outer defenses.
During the summer of 1615, Hideyori began to dig the outer moat once more. Tokugawa, in outrage, sent his armies to Osaka Castle again, and routed the Toyotomi men inside the outer walls on June 4. Osaka Castle fell to Tokugawa, and the Toyotomi clan perished.
In 1620, the new heir to the shogunate, Tokugawa Hidetada, began to reconstruct and re-arm Osaka Castle. He built a new elevated main tower, five stories on the outside and eight stories on the inside, and assigned the task of constructing new walls to individual samurai clans. The walls built in the 1620s still stand today, and are made out of interlocked granite boulders without mortar.
In 1660, lightning ignited the gunpowder warehouse and the resulting explosion set the castle on fire. In 1665, lightning struck and burnt down the main tower. In 1843, after decades of neglect, the castle got much-needed repairs when the bakufu collected money from the people of the region to rebuild several of the turrets.
In 1868, Osaka Castle fell and was surrendered to anti-bakufu imperial loyalists. Much of the castle was burned in the civil conflicts surrounding theMeiji Restoration.
In 1928, the main tower was restored and in In 1995, Osaka’s government approved yet another restoration project, with the intent of restoring the main tower to its Edo-era splendor. In 1997, restoration was completed. The castle is a concrete reproduction (including elevators) of the original and the interior is intended as a modern, functioning museum.
As I was leaving the castle I passed a shrine with a Japanese wedding taking place and a little further on some martial arts training in a building near the castle
Thanks to wikipedia for information