Osaka Castle isn’t the original castle. It was rebuilt several times and the one currently standing in Osaka was built 1931. It’s more of a castle grounds with a few replica buildings up, such as Tenshukaku, or the castle museum. The museum is about Hideyoshi Toyotomi who had the original castle built in 1583. Several floors of the museum are dedicated to his life and legacy and the summer war of 1615 where the castle was destroyed. The castle museum is 8 floors of mostly stairs. There are two elevators but while we were visiting they were only dropping people off on the 5th floor and not taking people back down or all the way to the top. If you do need an elevator you should know that the museum is accessible. There are ramps all the way up to the entrance and they have signs saying to let them know if you cannot do the stairs.
Tenshukaku is 600 ¥ for adults and is open from 9am until 5pm (last admission at 4:30) and can get crowded really fast. We waited in line to take the elevator up to the 5th floor then made our way up to the 8th floor to enjoy the view of the Osaka Castle Park. This area was cramped, without much space to move around or enjoy the view. There’s also protective wire at a distance which makes it difficult to get good pictures.
The rest of the museum itself as we made our way down felt like a lot. A lot of information about Hideyoshi Toyotomi and the castle to the point it was overwhelming. There is a floor of interesting dramatic holograms of his life, but this space was also extremely crowded. Several floors also do not allow pictures, we were told by the elevator worker of two but then saw signs up on other floors not mentioned, so just keep an eye out.
For me, the museum was a bit disappointing. I think Kyoto’s castle with its nightingale floors just blew my mind and other castles in Japan might not be able to live up to it. Plus I was exhausted. We went straight from hiking to the castle.
The castle grounds on the other hand were a lot of fun. You didn’t need to pay to get into the park and could just stroll along at your own pace enjoying nature. We saw tons of people out walking dogs, riding bikes, playing games and just having a good afternoon. There’s also a lot of food trucks and little shops if you feel a bit hungry. They aren’t cheap though, so packing your own picnic or bento is a better idea. I also suggest giving the castle grounds a visit during spring because there is a peach garden and a plum grove.