About Okayama city
"The Land of Sunshine," Okayama
Nestled between the Seto Inland Sea to the south and the Chugoku Mountains to the north, Okayama Prefecture features a diverse natural landscape and a comfortable climate. The number of days with a rainfall less than 1 millimeter in Okayama is the highest in Japan, earning us the nickname, “The Land of Sunshine.”
Okayama is a strategic point of transportation in western Japan. The Shinkansen and two expressways connect the east and west, and an expressway running north to south, together with the Seto Ohashi Bridge, connects the Japan Sea to the Pacific Ocean. We are continuingly striving to advance our role as a center of transportation and shipping for the region. Those efforts can be seen in such projects as Okayama Airport’s 3000 m runway, and the improvements of the Mizushima Port Tamashima Harbor Island International Container Terminal.
There's Plenty to See in Okayama
Okayama is filled with tourist attractions, one of which is Korakuen Garden, famous as one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. Other places worth a visit are the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Area and the beautiful archipelago in the Seto Inland Sea. And don't forget the Mimasaka Hot Springs Trio and Hiruzen Heights.
We are known throughout Japan for our local cuisine: we can recommend our delicious white peaches, Muscat and Peone grapes, fresh fish drawn from the Seto Inland Sea, sawara sashimi and Okayama Barazushi. In addition, in recent years Tsuyama’s Horumon Udon, Hinase’s okonomiyaki dish topped with oysters(Kakioko) and Hiruzen’s Yakisoba have gained great reputations as B-1 gourmet cuisine, so be sure to give these a try too. For souvenirs, why not try our Bizen Pottery or our locally brewed sake.
Okayama Korakuen Garden
Lord Tsunamasa of the Ikeda Clan of Okayama took more than ten years to complete this great garden noteable for its serene beauty. It is one of Japan's three most celebrated landscaped gardens as well as a national scenic beauty. You can enjoy flowers of each season planted in the garden and the solemn sight of Okayama Castle can be seen from the garden.
A warring lord named Hideie Ukita completed Okayama Castle. It is known as U jo, or the Crow Castle for its striking black exterior. Inside the castle tower is an exhibition space. There is a superb panoramic view of Okayama City from the top floor of the castle.
Hayashibara Museum of Art
The Hayashibara Museum with its reconstructed Nagaya Gatehouse entrance is noted for its many fine national treasures and culturally important artefacts. This splendid collection of Oriental fine arts includes furniture, swords, and Noh costumes handed down from the powerful Ikeda clan.
ex-Ashimori clan Samurai residence
The residence of Sugihara, chief retainer of the ex-Ashimori clan. This old Samurai residence with Nagaya Mon, (gate with a row of houses on each side) has the traditional Buke Shoin, living room / study room. It is a valuable building that conveys the way of life of the Samurai's and the history of Japanese architecture.
Streets with a lot of traditional houses in Ashimori has been appointed as preservation areas. In Ashimori Plaza, there are restaurants, an exhibition room, information corner and atelier where you can experience various styles of art such as craftwork and pottery. It is close to the hearts of people as an oasis of information and cultural exchange.
Omizuen Garden, once the private refuge of Lord Kinoshita, was designed by Enshu in the Edo Period. The pond in the garden is fed from the Ashimori river, and has a Zen atmosphere perfect for the tea ceremony. There are Maria Lanterns and a monument incised with a poem of Kinoshita, poet of the Shirakaba School, in the garden. Also, Ginfukaku, built near the pond is a place of interest.
The Kibitsu Shrine is dedicated to Kibitsuhiko no Mikoto who was dispatched by the Imperial Court of Yamato to conquer the Kibi Province. The magnificent inner outer shrines gabled in the Hiyoku-Irimoya style are designated as National Treasures.
Takamatsu Saijo Inari
Dedicated to the gods of the harvest and trade, Takamatsu Saijo Inari Temple is one of the three most famous pilgrimage temples of the Inari sect. Worshippers arrive daily from throughout the country. It is also famous for its big Torii gate entrance.
Commissioned in the 17th Century as the bodaiji (family temple) of the Ikeda feudal lords, Sogenji is one of the largest Zen temples in western Japan. A refined Zen garden of the Enshu school and a distinctive tea ceremony pavilion add to Sogenji乫s beauty.
Okayama Culture Zone
Around Okayama Kourakuen Garden and Okayama Castle, there are many cultural spots, such as museums, dotted around. This area is called "Okayama Culture Zone".
Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art
This sleek building is home to the prefectures outstanding collection of fine art. The museum乫s permanent exhibition includes works of such native sons as calligrapher Sesshu, swordsmen artist Musashi Miyamoto, and Kuniyoshi of the modern era.
Okayama Prefectural Museum
It is located in the detached court of Kourakuen Garden, and exhibits archaeological finds from ruins in Okayama and craftwork such as Bizen pottery and swords.
This fascinating museum exhibits excavated objects and art treasures from Mesopotamia, Persia, and Syria. Centering on the Silk Road which connected eastern and western civilization, the history of the Orient really comes alive at this museum.
Yumeji Art Museum
During the Taisho Period (1912 - 1926) Japanese artist Yumeji Takehisa incorporated Western romanticism into his own native style. This collection includes the most important masterpieces of the Okayama-born painter from watercolors and oils to woodblock prints and sketches.
Okayama Symphony Hall Building
This Okayama landmark is eye-catching for its cylindrical form. Various events are held in the main hall equipped with the best in sound and facilities.
The Sanyo Highway (one of the five main roads in the Edo Era), the three large rivers and the Seto Inland Sea, used as water transportation, all have made Okayama an important location for transportation between the Chugoku-Shikoku regions. These conditions have largely contributed to the development of various industry, business and culture, which have flourished from the ancient Kibi times to present.
Okayama Prefecture is steadily developing as the cross-point for the Chugoku-Shikoku region because of its interstate highways which stretch in all directions of the Prefecture, the Okayama Airport which flies both International and Domestic, and also railway and bullet train accesses to the East, West, South and North of Japan.