Osaka Museum of History

Osaka Museum of History - 大阪歴史博物館

Osaka Museum of History, close to Osaka Castle Park, is housed in a modernistic multi-storey tower, adjacent to the Osaka NHK Broadcast Center. There are great views of Osaka Castle and the city below from the top floors of the museum, worth the price of admission alone.

Osaka Museum of History, Osaka
Mannequins of court nobles, The Osaka Museum of History
Osaka Museum of History, Osaka
View of Osaka Castle from the Osaka Museum of History

Osaka Museum of History opened in 2001 and is dedicated to the history of Osaka from ancient to modern times.

The museum recommends two courses to visitors: the shorter hour-long "Highlight Course," and the longer "Complete Course", as you work your way through the main exhibits on the 10th to 7th floors.

The 10th floor of the Osaka History Museum, which is where it is suggested you begin your visit, focusses on the early palaces that were built here. The first palace was built in 651 and was the capital of Japan for about ten years while it was being constructed. Shortly afterwards the capital moved back to the Asuka area of southern Nara, but the Naniwa Palace continued to exist until 686.

In 710 the capital moved again to what is now Nara, but 10 years later a second palace was constructed in Naniwa on the site of the first. When the capital moved yet again, this time to what is now Kyoto, the Naniwa Palace was abandoned and destroyed and became lost to history until the 1950's and 60's when archaeologists discovered its remains.

On display is a large reconstruction of part of the Nara Period palace (Daikoku-den) with life size mannequins in court dress. There are scale models of the two palaces and many exhibits on the archaeological works. Video installations depict the elaborate palace lifestyle of the time.

Probably the best view you can get of Osaka Castle is from the upper floors of the Osaka History Museum. Just out of the picture on the right is the Naniwanomiyaato Park, the site of the Naniwa Palaces featured on the tenth floor of the museum.

Move down to the 9th floor which covers the late Middle Ages up to and including the Edo Period (1603-1868) when Osaka (the "Venice of the East") was a thriving and bustling city and main trading center.

Osaka Museum of History, Osaka
The 9th floor of the Osaka Museum of History
Osaka Museum of History, Osaka
Edo Period Osaka reconstructed at the Osaka Museum of History

Like the other floors, it is spacious with many full-size replicas, scale models and wall sized prints as well as audio and massive photos. If your idea of  a history museum is lots of glass cases containing relics you will be surprised as the emphasis seems to be more focussed on entertainment. However if you are a serious history buff there is plenty to see, it just takes a little searching for.

Osaka as Japan's main port and trading center - the "Venice of the East."

The 9th floor covers the late Middle Ages up to and including the Edo Period when Osaka was a thriving and bustling city and main trading center. Like the other floors, it is spacious with many full-size replicas and scale models as well as massive photos and wall sized prints as well as audio. If your idea of  a history museum is lots of glass cases containing relics you will be surprised as the emphasis seems to be more focussed on entertainment. However if you are a serious history buff there is plenty to see, it just takes a little searching.

The 8th floor is smaller than the others and given over to an interactive replica of an archaeological site. Japan has by far more archaeologists per capita than any other country. Using real tools, younger visitors can excavate relics and then research and catalog them using workstations and reference materials. There are also numerous interactive archaeological puzzles to solve. Unfortunately it is only in Japanese.

Osaka Museum of History, Osaka
Interactive replica of an archaeological site, Osaka Museum of History

The last floor of the permanent exhibitions is devoted to the first half of the twentieth century - booming Taisho and early Showa-era Osaka (1912-1930).

The museum shop and restaurant are located on the first floor of the museum.

Osaka Museum of History also contains a reference library and exhibition hall (6F). The basement reveals the partially excavated remains of the ancient Naniwa-Nagara-Toyozaki Palace over which the museum has been constructed.

Access - how to get to Osaka Museum of History

Osaka Museum of History
1-32 Otemae 4-Chome
Chuo-ku
Osaka
540-0008
Tel: 06 6946 5728
Hours: 9.30am-5pm (Fridays 9.30am-8pm when there are special exhibitions), closed Tuesday or the next day if Tuesday is a public holiday
Admission: Adults 600 yen; students 400 yen.

The Osaka Museum of History is a short walk from Exit 9 of Tanimachi 4-Chome Station on the Tanimachi and Chuo Line lines of the Osaka subway.

Osaka Museum of History
Exhibits on the first floor of the Osaka Museum of History

Books on Osaka

Recommended books on Osaka include the Offbeat Guide to Osaka and Exploring Osaka: Japan's Second City by David M. Dunfield.

Osaka Museum of History, Osaka
The Osaka Museum of History is inside a modernist tower
Osaka Museum of History
The Osaka Museum of History opened in 2001 and is dedicated to the history of Osaka

Osaka Hotels

Hotels in Osaka - Booking.com
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Hotels in Osaka - Agoda
Budget Hotels in Osaka - Booking.com

Osaka Tours & Experiences - Voyagin


Books on Japan


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