Before doing a day trip out to Nara I spent part of a morning at Osaka Castle. When the castle was first built in the late 1500s it was the largest in Japan and it almost became the center of a unified Japan under the rule of the Toyotomi clan. In the early 1600s, however, the Tokugawa clan rose to power, wrecked the castle, killed off the Toyotomis, and moved Japan’s capital to Edo (Tokyo). In the 1620s the castle was rebuilt but the following three centuries would see the castle get burned down a few times. A ferroconcrete replica of the castle’s main tower was built in 1931 and in the 1990s the tower was renovated and its interior was turning into a modern museum complete with an elevator. At the top level of the tower there’s an outdoor observation deck that gives you a good view of the castle grounds.