Japan, Osaka – Osaka Castle
Once you stand in front of Osaka Castle with some exaggeration it will seem to you as a luxurious mansion than a place guarded by samurais where lot of blood was shed. The castle has a white façade and its thatch roof is green.
The castle is known as the greatest pride of Hideoshi Toyotomi (1536-1598), a great Japanese statesmen and military leader. He unified Japan. A whole historical period is named after Hideoshi –it is calledMomoyama.
Hideoshi began construction in 1583. The new castle was placed on former Honganji temple. In 1597 the construction was completed and there was no other like it. Hideoshi made the castle his residence and the fortress later served also to his son.
Power struggles in Japan, however, went on. Series of battles between Tokugawa shogunate and the Toyotomi clan climaxed in the siege of Osaka. Two large armies of hundreds of thousand soldiers fought against each other. Yet eventually the army of Toyotomi, that was outnumbered, was defeated and the clan perished from the history.
The castle was renovated by the victors. A new main tower was built and around it granite walls, you can see them today. However, in 1660, somebody or a coincidence caused gun powder to caught into fire which created an explosion and subsequent fire spread to the castle itself. Another disaster happened in 1665. A lighting struck the main tower. The fortress was in decay until the half of the 19th century. Then it was renovated again yet it burned down again during civil unrests in Japan during the Meiji restoration.
Current castle is mostly the work of the 1995 renovation. Today there is a museum. It includes diorama of 19 scenes from Hideoshi Toyotomi life. You can also see the model of battle of Osaka with miniature soldiers. Massive collection of historical items also includes a beautiful samurai armor, or a detailed wooden sculpture of Hideoshi.
When you finish learning about history in the museum you can go to se do hradní castle garden. It covers an area of more than 100 hectares. You will walk among hundreds of cherry trees, which must be fabulous especially in spring.
Osaka Castle is a place to stay at least for a whole day. It offers a retreat from such a noisy city Osaka is. It will be a trip to history which will conclude in romantic walk and contemplation in the most beautiful garden in the city.
Text: Maxim Kucer
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