czwartek, 13 marca 2014

Osaka Castle - 大阪城

            In the heart of city Osaka, surrounded by tall and modern building lies a beautiful and picturesque Osaka Castle Park, with Osaka Castle right in its centre.

When I started to learn Japanese many reading exercises were dialogues between characters and they very often talked about visiting Osaka Castle. It was supposed to be big, beautiful and situated in a garden with many sakura (cherry blossom). When you read about something over and over again, naturally after a while it makes you curious. So when I was planning my trip to Japan my number one place to see was Osaka with its famous Castle.

The idea to construct the castle was conceived in 1583 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi. He wanted to build a spectacular castle, which would be five stories high, and have additional three stories underground. What's more he wanted it to be impenetrable for the attackers. However, after his death the castle was under siege many times and most of the original construction was destroyed and later rebuild.

The construction we can admire today was erected in 1620 by Tokugawa Hidetada, who ordered his samurais to build the walls (some of the stones still have markings of the clans who bought them). The castle was again burned many times, but in 1997 the government allowed to restore the tower once more. Now we have a chance to admire it as it looked during the Edo period.

The park and the castle are a true magnificent view. It takes quite a while to walk through the park and admire the castle inch by inch before we, at last, get to the main building itself. However, when you enter the castle the scenery abruptly changes. The inside has been confereted into a museum, where nothing is as it was during the time when the castle was build. The main attraction for me was the possibility to climb the tower and see Osaka from above.

Maybe the interior of the Castle is not the most impressive, but the outside and the park are for sure worth seeing. When we wander in the park area there is a feeling that we are catapulted in time to some long gone period. This feeling is strengthen when we visit the tower. From it the modern Osaka can be seen, with tall sky-scrapers and very busy streets. And here is a place totally secluded from all that every day rush and fuss. When you want to escape the modern world - Osaka Castle is a must visit.

Plan of the grounds

The Castle before entering the grounds

 Osaka Castle seen from the Osaka Museum of History

One of the gates leading to the Castle

The Castle itself

View of the city from above

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