Day Four Morning in Osaka – November 2016
After an awesome experience at Nijo Castle at Kyoto, our next destination was to Osaka. We took the rail from Kyoto Station to Osaka for a day trip. The itinerary for the day was to spend the morning at Osaka Castle and the rest of the day at Namba. It took us around 30 minutes to reach Osaka from Kyoto Station via the Special Rapid Service (Red Sign).
At the main gate of the Osaka Castle, there is a signage indicating the two paths to the Main Tower. One is via the Gokurakubashi Bridge (go left) and another is via the Nishinomaru Garden (go right). We walked towards left, to the Gokurakubashi Bridge, “gokuraku” is a Buddhist term meaning the world of peace.
Gokurakubashi is a bridge that connects the Yamazato-maru Bailey and the Ni-no-maru (Outer Bailey). The original Osaka Castle that Hideyoshi Toyotomi began to build in 1583 had a bridge called Gokurakubashi, and this name was succeeded by the bridge of Osaka Castle rebuilt later by the Tokugawa shogunate which was later destroyed by fire in 1868. The present bridge was rebuilt in 1965.
We took lots of pictures of the Castle along the way. While walking towards the Castle, we saw a couple who was there for their wedding photos shoot. There were so many people visiting the Castle which made it a challenge for them to take good pictures.
Upon reaching the entrance hall of the Castle Museum, we were glad to see the queue was short as it was almost lunch time. Near the entrance of the Hall is an ancient signal gun. It was manufactured in 1863, as ordered by the Tokugawa government. It had been installed at Osaka’s Tempozan battery until the Meiji Restoration, after which it had been transferred to the Osaka Castle grounds.
When we reached the entrance to the main hall, we were told by the museum guide to start the tour from the top floor (8th Floor) and take the stairs down. We took the lift to the top floor which is the Observation Deck for a panoramic view of the Osaka City from atop.
After viewing the city from different angles, we made our way down to the 7th floor that introduced the life of Hideyoshi Toyotomi in miniature dramas. Hideyoshi was the Shogun who built the Osaka Castle and succeeded in unifying the entire nation.
Then we made our way down to the 5th floor as there is no access to the 6th floor. On the 5th floor is where the scenes of the summer war in Osaka being visualised with images and miniature figures.
After spending some time on the 5th floor, looking at the miniature figures and watching the presentation depicting the summer war in Osaka, we made our way to the 3rd and 4th floor that exhibit the objects associated with Hideyoshi Toyotomi and other artefacts and records of the Sengoku era, the age of the provincial wars.
On the 2nd floor are the display panels showing the facts and figures about Osaka Castle and an area where you can experience wearing the samurai helmet and battle surcoat.
After spending around an hour at the museum floors, we were back on the 1st floor where we checked out the museum shop for souvenirs.
When we left the Castle Museum, there was a super long queue to enter the Museum Hall as it was past lunch time. Glad we made the right decision to have late lunch and visit the museum first, else we could have spent an hour or more just queuing to get in. We headed to the eateries at the park for a bowl of ramen before exploring the park.
Getting there: From Kyoto Station, take the Special Rapid Service via JR Kyoto Line to Osaka Station, then switch to the JR Loop Line and stop at Osakajokoen Station and walk to the Osaka Castle.
Opening hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (admission until 16:30)
Admission: 600 yen (Closed from 28th December through 1st January)
Note: Photography is not allowed on 3rd and 4th floor
For more information, go to www.osakacastle.net.
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