Yesterday I returned to Osaka Castle Park to explore the actual castle, which serves as a museum for art and artefacts related to the castle and the daimyo who built it in 1583, Toyotomi Hideyoshi. It’s an impressive structure – supposedly built initially with the labour of one hundred thousand workers – although the interior was refurbished in ’97 and now looks like basically any other museum in the world. The building itself has been destroyed and rebuilt several times throughout its history, with the current building constructed in 1937.
I love museums – the eight floors of the castle have all been refurbished into a modern building with a fairly intense system of elevators and one-way staircases. We visited maybe two hours before closing, and it was quite hectic. Lots of interesting things to see – although I feel that some of the significance of the items and the historical figures that they belonged to were lost on me, given that my knowledge of Japanese history is on par with my knowledge of the language – minimal. Handwritten scrolls, painted screens, armor and battle standards were among the highlights for me personally.
The observation deck on the top floor of the castle provides spectacular 360 degree views of Osaka city. The park is a really beautiful green space and obviously well-used by locals – we saw lots of people and families out and about together, playing sports, riding bikes, walking the dog, etc. Beautiful weather and not too hot. Finally, it’s starting to feel like autumn!