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An Expert Guide to the Best Spots to Take Insta-worthy Pictures of Osaka Castle

Osaka Castle is popular with visitors to Japan from overseas and it is teeming with Instagramable sites. This article will showcase the best places to snap a great picture, as selected by those in the know. If you take on board all of the advice given here, you are sure to be able to take the perfect picture! Why not go out there and make some memories?

Osaka Castle - A Castle Standing Tall in the Heart of the City

Osaka Castle appears as if to suddenly rise up among the the packed city skyline. In the past, Osaka Castle acted as a center of power for the Japanese Government. What stands here are the vestiges of a castle that existed at that period.
The first-generation Osaka Castle was built around 400 years ago by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, the most powerful general in Japan at the time. It was burned to the ground in a civil war that broke out after Hideyoshi's death. The second iteration of the castle was built by the feudal lord Tokugawa Hidetada who comprehensively reconstructed it over a period of ten years beginning in 1620. In 1655, the castle tower was destroyed due to lightning damage. The current castle tower was reconstructed in 1931, and is thus the third generation of the castle. It is constructed out of reinforced concrete.
In the past, the castle acted as a symbol of power, however, nowadays it is beloved as a spot at which the citizens of Osaka can relax and unwind.

It is located a 15-minute walk from the Osakajokoen Station on the JR Osaka Loop Line or 19 minutes on foot from Temmabashi Station on the Osaka Metro Tanimachi Line.

Osaka Castle

1-1 Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

Highlights from Those in the Know! Engraved Stones That You Need to Know About Before Setting out with Your Camera

Osaka Castle is encircled with a large stone wall. This stone wall was built around 400 years ago when the feudal lords ordered powerful people in every region to construct similar structures. At this time, these regional power brokers had stones brought from their home areas and tried to best each other with their stone wall building capabilities. Then, so that it was known that they were in charge of the build, they had distinctive symbols and patterns carved into the stones.
There are a number of different engraved stones, so it can be fun to engage in a sort of treasure hunt to look for them all in among the large stone walls. There are some non-engraved stones that can be seen in the trench around the castle. These are remnants from when wedges of stone were cut from the mountain.
If you would like to see some of these stones up close, then you can view a large selection of them on exhibit at the Marked Stones Square. The stones on display here are largely comprised of those that were brought to Osaka but never used, as well as those that were removed during later renovations.

You can get to the engraved stones with a 12-minute walk from the Osakajokoen Station.

Marked Stones Plaza

1-1 Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

The Hidden Ring - the Best Place to Gaze upon the Castle Tower from Below

The building at the center of the castle grounds is known as the castle tower, or tenshukaku in Japanese. If you are looking to take a dynamic photograph from below centered on the castle tower, then the hidden ring is where you should go. This area was built in order to give cover to battling soldiers, so it isn't the easiest to find. However, this means that few tourists manage to find it so you can have this spectacular view of the castle nearly all to yourself.
It is located on the western side of the castle, meaning that it catches the best of the sun's light in the afternoon, getting you the best photograph possible.
You will also have the opportunity to touch some of the engraved stones from this spot, so be on the look-out.

You can get here with a 14-minute walk from Osakajokoen Station.

大阪城 隠曲輪

1-1 Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

Hop on a Boat at Gozabune Pier and Experience the Castle in a Golden Boat

The inner moat of the castle is populated with boats known as Gozabune. They are beautiful golden boats and if you want to get a shot of them with the castle in the same photograph, the best spot is 10 meters west of the pier. You can get a great picture of the green roof of the castle and the golden boats.
Moreover, it is a lot of fun to gaze upon the castle while aboard one of the boats. You can also see the engraved stones from up close, so if you have the time be sure to make the trip. The boats depart at 10 minute intervals, so you won't be kept waiting for too long.

You can get to the pier with a 14-minute walk from Temmabashi Station on the Osaka Metro Tanimachi Line. Price: Adults (over the age of 16) - 1,500 JPY, Elementary and middle school students - 750 JPY, Infants - no charge

Osaka Castle Gozabune Pier

2 Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

Take a Picture of the Front of the Castle at the Nishinomaru Garden

The castle tower is both striking and majestic when viewed from the Nishinomaru Garden. This garden was the site of the memorial photograph of the G20 summit, a meeting of world leaders to discuss financial and economic issues.
If you take a picture from the southern side of the guest house then the face of the castle tower will be centered in your photograph. You are likely to get a better photograph if you take it in the afternoon. Note that there is a charge to enter the garden.
If you would prefer to have buildings in the background of your photograph then you should head to the Sengan Turret, located to the west of the entrance to the garden grounds.

The garden is located a 14-minute walk from Temmabashi Station on the Osaka Metro Tanimachi Line.
Entry Fee: Adults - 200 JPY (No charge for children below high-school age)

Nishinomaru Garden

2 Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

For a Picture of Osaka Surrounded by Modern Buildings, Head to the Osaka Museum of History

If you are looking to capture the Castle Tower, Otemon Gate and the modern towers that hang in the backdrop of the castle tower in one single shot, then the best spot to do this is the landing of the escalators to the Osaka Museum of History. However, in order to get here an admission fee is charged. While you are here to capture your photo of Osaka Castle, it is also worth your while to take a look at the exhibitions, such as those that show the cityscape of Osaka at the time when the castle was built.
The picture that you take will be from behind glass so you will need to use an item like a PL filter or other equipment that lessens the effect of reflection on the camera to ensure that you can take a nice picture. If you are using a smart phone, adjust the white balance to reduce ghosting in your pictures. At this spot, the best time to take photos is the afternoon.

The museum is located a 7-minute walk from Tanimachi Yonchome Station on the Osaka Metro Tanimachi Line.
Admission free: Adult - 600 JPY, University and high school students - 400 JPY, Middle school students and younger - No charge

Osaka Museum of History

4-1-32 Otemae, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

Get Yourself a Souvenir Picture at Shinshigino Bridge

If you are looking to get a souvenir picture of some people standing in front of the castle then you should get yourself to the Shinshigino Bridge, a short distance away from the castle itself. The bridge is suspended above the Daini Neya River and the wide entrance to the promenade on the bridge makes it perfect for taking souvenir photographs. Moreover, because it is off the beaten track, you can take as many photographs as you wish.
Conversely, because it is such a hidden spot, you are unlikely to find someone to take a picture for you.
The best time to take a picture is between 10:00 and 11:00 in the morning, just before the sun rises to its highest point. If you take a picture at this time then it will be difficult for shadows to be cast covering your face.

You can get to the bridge with a 7-minute walk from Osakajokoen Station on the JR Osaka Loop Line.

Shinshigino Bridge

3 Osakajo, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

Take a Picture of Osaka Castle at Hokoku Shrine for a Shrine Archway in the Foreground of the Photo

If you want to take the kind of picture that comes into your head when you think of a typical Japanese scene, then you will want to take a picture of the castle along with the Shinto shrine archway at Hokoku Shrine. Once you pass through the shrine archway, you will see vending machines on your right hand side. If you squat down near to them then you will be able to get a picture of both the castle and archway together. So stop for a prayer to the deity and then get snapping!
At this spot, it is better to take your picture in the morning. If you visit in the afternoon, then the sun will not properly shine on the archway, meaning that it will appear too dark in the photo. If you wish to focus on the castle and blur the archway, then you can still take a good picture in the afternoon.

You can access the shrine with a 6-minute walk from Temmabashi Station on the Osaka Metro Tanimachi Line.

Hokoku Shrine

2-1 Osaka-jo, Chuo-ku, Osaka-shi, Osaka

As well as the 6 different areas that were introduced here, there are many other inviting spots to the north-west of the castle moat where there are few tourists and you can more easily take pictures. So why not venture forth to the castle with a camera in your hand and try to take the best photo that you can?

*Please note that the information in this article is from the time of writing or publication and may differ from the latest information.

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