It is every little girl's dream to become a princess. I remember when I was in kindergarten, we had a play about Snow White. I have fair skin so I expected I would be chose for the lead role. However, I played a minor, insignificant, funny role instead: I was a tree. I remember vividly how embarrassed and disappointed I was. I wanted to be Snow White. I wanted to be a princess. Twenty years later, my dream of becoming a princess never came true but I still dream that one of these days I will live the life of a princess even for just a fleeting moment. Because of that "princess" desire I was ecstatic to visit Osaka Castle. I had really high expectations for this castle. I was imagining it to be grandiose and flamboyant - just a like a real Japanese castle. I was expecting to see tatami mats and sliding doors separating the hallways and rooms. I was expecting to see a Japanese garden outside. I had so many images playing in my head of how this castle will look like. I was excited to feel like a princess. But honestly, going here was a disappointment. The castle is just one big museum.
I've been to two different palaces in Korea and both were exactly like a palace. The interiors were not converted into a museum. It was as real as it was centuries ago. So when I had the opportunity to visit a castle in Japan I was expecting to see the same: a castle that shows what it was to live in royalty centuries ago. But Osaka Castle is a castle outside but a museum inside. If you are interested in history and seeing historical artifacts, then going here would be worth it. There is also a section where you can dress in a kimono or a samurai and have your picture taken. But aside from that, it was a huge disappointment for me. I would be more interested to learn about the history of the castle if I can see and imagine how it was like centuries ago. I do wish they restored and maintained the original plan of the castle instead of turning it into a museum. I don't recommend entering the castle but its exterior is something to be viewed. You can stay outside and be mesmerized of its beauty.
How to Get There:
Get off at Osakajokoen Station riding the JR West Osaka Loop Line. There will be signage in the train station so just follow that. Upon exiting the train station, there is a map that will tell you the directions to Osaka Castle. It is a long walk (about 20 minutes) from the train station to the entrance of the castle premises but the walk is worth it because of the view.
- Bring your own water because the walk to the castle grounds can be very tiring.
- There is a viewing room where you can watch the history of the castle. The film has English subtitles.
- You can refill your water bottle at the drinking fountain located at the 3rd floor of the castle. It is in one of the corners. It is difficult to spot but when you find yourself tired, you will easily see this.
I was disappointed going here and I really don't recommend it. Or maybe because I had expectations about this castle. If you are also looking for a real castle, I was told Himeji Castle is a good place to visit. Next time, I will be sure to include that in my itinerary.