Toyotomi Hideyoshi was kind of a big deal. Building on the accomplishments of Oda Nobunaga before him, Toyotomi Hideyoshi unified Japan through a combination of military prowess and shrewd diplomacy (though more of the former than the latter, in most cases). Although his clan's reign lasted only a generation, he established the foundation of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which would rule Japan from the early 1600s until the Meiji Restoration in 1868.
Basically, Toyotomi Hideyoshi was the ultimate old-school samurai, and his rise through the ranks from peasant to warrior to rascal to lord of all Japan has made him one of the nation's great heroes.
Osaka Castle was one of Toyotomi Hideyoshi's major strongholds. It was also the site of his son's last stand against Tokugawa Ieyasu, erstwhile ally and founder of the Tokugawa Shogunate. While the old castle has been destroyed several times over, a relatively careful reconstruction of the main tower sits on the old site, and of course the sprawling moats and battlements will take more than a few hundred years and one world war to destroy.
|Though some of us may have tried our best.|
Today, the castle and its grounds form an enormous park right in the busy modern heart of Osaka. The main tower is now a museum dedicated largely to the story of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his clan.
The view from the top was nice, though.
|My war face.|
|My "Oh my gosh this thing weighs a million pounds" face.|