The Osaka Castle is the most beautiful historical Japanese architecture in Osaka and probably the only one, compared to what Kyoto has to offer. Our second day in Osaka was spending time there and thereafter a visit to Shinsekai & Tsutenkaku Tower.
To visit the castle, there are several access by train and subway. You can get-off at any one of these stations namely, Osaka Business Park, Osakajokoen, Morinomiya, Tanimachi 4-chome or Temmabashi. Apart from getting off at Osaka Business Park Station, expect to walk a fair distance to the castle grounds. Alternatively, you can take the ‘Road Train’ by getting off at Morinomiya Station which is a short walk to the road train stop.
The road train costing ¥300 one-way or ¥500 return, will shuttle you close to the castle ground and is highly recommend for young kids and elderly who do not want to walk 15-20 mins trekking up the castle grounds. The surrounding castle grounds are free to visit but has an entrance fee for getting into the castle building itself.
At Morinomiya, we exit the station via Exit 3A which has the closest ticket gate compare to Exit 3B which is quiet a distance away. After the ticket gate, it’s quite a long passage to walk and at the exit, it has a long staircase up. Definitely NOT for those experiencing leg pains. Later below, we’ll let you know of other exit as well as an exit with elevator.
When taking the road train, there will be 2 stops along the way. The first stop is at Gokuraku Bridge and the final stop at Hokaku Shrine. You can choose to access the castle from either one. Getting off at Gokuraku Bridge stop is nearer to the castle but involves uphill trek through several staircases. The trains runs every 20 minutes with first departure at 9:30 am and a final departure at 17:00 pm (please check).
A stop at Hokaku Shrine however is quite a distance form the Sakuramon main gate but you’ll be walking on paved, level road right to the main gate and into the castle ground. From the Sakuramon gate, it’s a gentle 200m uphill walk to the castle ground where wheelchairs can be pushed along.
Staircase Exit 3B & Elevator Exit 7A
Those with walking disability or sore foot may want to try Exit 3B which is another staircase exit. If Exit 3B isn’t convenient, walk further inside the station to Exit7A which has an elevator. Once on street level of Exit 7A, you’ll need to cross the street to access the boulevard. From Exit 3B it’s about a 170m walk to the road train stop.
The beauty and historical value of Osaka Castle makes it a must to visit, especially if your itinerary do not cover other parts of Japan. Whether you are a fan of castle or not, the castle will charm you of it’s beauty, size and the surrounding park which is right in the middle of a modern urban city scape of high-rise concrete structures.
The castle is a concrete reproduction of the original castle completed in 1931 with modern amenities, a museum and an open observatory at the top. Being one of Osaka’s main attraction, it is quite a busy place with lots of school children on excursion learning their culture. We did not go into the castle as we’ve read the elevator (up only) always has long queue and we did not want to take the stairs down either. The castle is eight storeys high.