Japanese Castle Explorer

by Daniel O'Grady

Japanese Castles 1540-1640 Strongholds of the Samurai: Japanese Castles 250-1877

Ōsaka Castle

Images: Daniel O'Grady


Ōsaka Domain

1620 - 1868

Tokugawa Clan

* Koku

Ōsaka Castle is classified as a flatland castle (its layout: Rinkakushiki), and is located in Ōsaka. During the pre-modern age, it found itself within the borders of Settsu Province. It is associated with the Toyotomi, Tokugawa clans. Dates in use: 1583 - 1868.

Built on the site of the former temple of the troublesome warrior monks, the Ikko Ikki, Toyotomi Hideyoshi built a truly lavish & seemingly impregnable castle that surpassed all others. The Tokugawa clan reduced it to rubble in 1615 & five years later had succeeded in removing almost every trace of Hideyoshi's efforts & replaced it with an even mightier fortress.

This truly is a spectacular castle to visit. Initially, the fact that the main tower was a concrete reconstruction lowered its estimation in my eyes but the sheer scale is breathtaking. Also, Ōsaka castle is still in possession of nine buildings that date from the Edo period. Those nine buildings & a well have been designated Important Cultural Properties.


1583 Hideyoshi started building what would be the grandest castle of its day.
1585 The central defensive structures were competed.
1598 The outer defensive structures were completed.
1614 Osaka was laid siege to by the forces of the Tokugawa Shogunate. A truce was stuck with the defending Toyotomi armies after some hostilities.
1615 Once again the castle was laid siege to. The result this time was a outright victory for the Tokugawa clan.
1620 The Tokugawa incarnation of Osaka castle was completed.
1660 Lightning strikes & destroys a gunpowder magazine.
1665 Lightning strikes twice. The main tower gets toasted.
1843 The Tokugawa Shogunate passes the hat around to raise funds to repair the dilapidated castle.
1868 Much of the castle was damaged by fire due to civil unrest and not someone smoking in bed as was first thought.
1928 The main tower, a concrete reconstruction, was unveiled.
1945 Several buildings, including the ... Turret and the Kyōbashi gate complex, burnt to the ground following a U.S. bombing raid.

Historical recognition

SiteSpecial National Historic Site
Ōte GateImportant Cultural Property
Sakura GateImportant Cultural Property
Tamon TurretImportant Cultural Property
Sengan TurretImportant Cultural Property
Inui TurretImportant Cultural Property
Rokuban TurretImportant Cultural Property
Ichiban TurretImportant Cultural Property
Enshogura Gunpowder MagazineImportant Cultural Property
Kanagura Treasure houseImportant Cultural Property
Kinmeisui WellImportant Cultural Property
Walls (x3)Important Cultural Properties