History and Cherry Trees at Osaka Castle Park
・Features nearly 300 cherry blossom trees, primarily of the somei-yoshino variety
・Includes the late-blooming yaezakura trees, meaning you can enjoy the flower viewing season right up to the end
Osaka Castle Framed by Blossoms
Osaka Castle Park is home to the castle keep, which has a historical museum and observation deck. Osaka Castle Hall and the outdoor Yagai Ongakudō, both music venues, are also in the park, as is a baseball field and jogging path, making it the go-to place for Osakans looking to relax.
The park also has around 300 cherry blossom trees and has been listed as one of the Top 100 Cherry Blossom Spots in the country for the trees’ beauty as well as the bounty of different varieties on display. The castle keep standing tall in the background, the petals fluttering over the surface of the moat, and a jogging path through the park all make for a rather charming flower viewing experience.
The standout area of the park where the view of the castle and the cherry trees really come together is in the Nishinomaru-teien to the west. While there is a fee to get into this section of the park, the 300 cherry trees found within are spectacular both during the day or when seen illuminated at night.
A Walk Through History Beneath the Sakura
Osaka Castle was originally built by the generalissimo Toyotomi Hideyoshi in 1598, but was burned to the ground during the Siege of Osaka in 1615. The Tokugawa shogunate went on to completely eradicate any trace of the castle as it stood in Hideyoshi’s day, and even went on to build an embankment and construct a new castle in its place. While the castle as it stands today was rebuilt in 1931, the large gate, watchtowers, and stone base built by the Tokugawa shogunate remain intact. The stone base of the castle, constructed from megaliths brought in from all over Japan, is awe-inspiring in its scale. North of the castle is a stone monument that marks the spot where Hideyoshi’s son, Toyotomi Hideyori, and Hideyoshi’s second wife, Yodo-dono, committed seppuku (ritual suicide).
Brilliant Plum Blossoms
To the east of the park is a plum grove where visitors will find over a thousand plum trees. With many different varieties on display, late and early bloomers alike, you can catch the plum blossoms from the end of January up through the beginning of March.
Osaka Castle Park
- Address: Osakajō, Chūō-ku, Osaka
- Access: Right next to Osakajō Kōen Station on the JR Osaka Kanjō Line and Morinomiya Station on JR Osaka Kanjō Line or Chūō Subway Line; 10 minute walk from Tanimachi Yonchōme Station on the Chūō Subway Line and Tanimachi Subway Line
- Nishinomaru-teien admission: High schoolers and older: ¥200 during the day, ¥350 when illuminated
*Regardless of when illumination starts, entrance fee while illuminated is ¥350
- English website: http://osakacastlepark.jp/foreinger/english.html
(Originally published in Japanese on March 31, 2018. Written by Kuroiwa Masakazu. Banner photo: Osaka Castle surrounded by sakura.)