In 1583, Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598), a powerful feudal lord and warrior during the Sengoku period, built Osaka Castle during a period of unrest which had followed numerous wars over the previous decades. Obsessed with gold, Hideyoshi insisted that gold be applied to much of the castle’s interior furnishing, with this motif also appearing on the exterior awnings to this day. Upon completion, Hideyoshi held the castle as a stronghold, which led to a secession of the wars that were raging in Japan at that time – essentially unifying the country and bringing temporary peace.
As history tends to prove, peace did not last forever, and numerous wars broke out over the coming centuries. Osaka Castle was destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, and not always by war – in 1665 the main castle tower was in fact destroyed by fire as a result of a lightning storm. After this period the castle stood for another 200 years, before again being destroyed during the Boshin War. The most recent (and hopefully permanent) iteration of Osaka Castle was reconstructed in 1928
In 1583, Hideyoshi began construction at the former site of Honganji Temple and completed the magnificent castle, which was reputed as being unparalleled in the country. Hideyoshi, having employed the castle as his stronghold, succeeded in quelling the wars which had continued for more than one century, thereby unifying the entire nation. After Hideyoshi’s death, Ieyasu Tokugawa, who worked for Hideyoshi as his chief retainer, was appointed to the Shogun and he established the shogunate (government) in Edo (Tokyo). In 1615, Ieyasu ruined the Toyotomi family and destroyed Osaka Castle (in the Summer War of Osaka). Thereafter, the Tokugawa shogunate reconstructed Osaka Castle. It held the castle under its direct control until 1868, when the Tokugawa shogunate lost power and the castle fell.
In 1931, the Main Tower of the Castle was reconstructed in the center of Osaka Castle, which was used as a military base, with funds raised by the citizens.
The present-day Main Tower is the third generation. It follows the Main Tower from the Toyotomi period, which was destroyed by fire during the Summer War, and the tower from the Tokugawa period, which was struck by lightning and was burned down.