You may never have heard of Okayama Prefecture before, but it is located in the Chugoku region, where you can see the beautiful nature and local neighborhood. The prefecture is known as land of sun for its many sunny days (more than rainy!). If you go to Naoshima Island, you will pass through Okayama Prefecture as Port One in Okayama is where you can catch a ferry going to Naoshima Island.
Okayama is also close to the Kansai region, such as Osaka, Kyoto, and Kobe, so you can visit Okayama before or after your trip to Naoshima.
In this article, we are going to introduce you to the best places to visit in Okayama and after reading this, you will have a clearer idea of what Okayama is like!
*If you live in Japan, you can travel cheap with the Go to Travel campaign! (*Tokyo residents excluded.)
How to travel cheap with the Go to Travel campaign
1. Washuzan Mountain
Washuzan Mountain faces the Seto Inland Sea and is close to the Great Seto Bridge. You can enjoy an attractive view of the Seto Inland Sea, dotted with many small islands, and the Great Seto Bridge from the mountain. It is one of the famous places in Setonaikai National Park which is the first national park in Japan.
Come by car and walk through the area while enjoying the refreshing sea breeze, sometimes you can find cats resting in the area of the summit. It only takes 20 minutes to reach the top of the mountain. You will see the view of the beautiful Seto Inland Sea.
Access It is better to go by car, it takes about 40 minutes by car from Uno station.
2. Shibukawa Beach
Shibukawa Beach is located in the city of Tamano, where Port One, the gateway to Naoshima, is also located. It’s usually not crowded there (except when there are local school events) and you can relax on the beach. Enjoy the sound of the waves and appreciate the beauty of nature.
You can also go to Shibukawa Marine Aquariums which is just behind the beach. It is really a small aquarium but you can feel the local atmosphere.
Access 20 min by bus from Gare d’Uno
3. Kurashiki Bikan Historic Area
The Kurashiki Bikan Historic Area is one of the best sights in Okayama. In history, the Kurashiki Bikan region flourished as a trading city. The town remains to this day with the good atmosphere of yesteryear and many traditional-style houses. There are many shops and places to eat and enjoy the local experience.
The Kurashiki Bikan area is famous for its historic traditional Japanese buildings and its shops, restaurants, and museums. It seems that time has stopped since the Edo period (17-19). Also enjoy the specialty you can get from there. The famous one is Kurashiki Denim, a shopping area called Denim Street, where you can get high-quality denim that will fit you perfectly. Be sure to try the Denim Burger with the blue buns!
If you have enough time, we recommend taking the Yakata boat. Back then, the locals used the boat to deliver their goods, but now they go down the Kurashiki River for visitors. It is very relaxing and you will find that the view of Kurashiki Bikan from the boat has a different appeal.
Access 10-minute walk from Kurashiki Station
recommended visit Explore the beautiful old town
4. Okayama Castle
Okayama Castle is called raven castle because its black walls. It has a connection to Toyotomi who was the greatest warrior in the early 1600s. The castle was originally built in 1597 but was destroyed during World War II and the castle you can see today was rebuilt in 1966. It is a six story castle and each story has a different exhibit. You can see how the castle was built and what they used in the story. You can also learn about the history of Okayama Castle and enjoy panoramic views of Okayama city from the 6th floor. Since it was rebuilt only 50 years ago, this black castle looks clean and beautiful.
Access 20 min by train and on foot from Okayama Station
costs 560 yen (you can also go to Okayama Korakuen Garden)
5. Okayama Korakuen Garden
This garden is located right next to Okayama Castle. It has a very beautiful Japanese garden and is known as one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. save about 1-2 hours to explore all this great garden. If you are interested in architecture, there are some old traditional buildings to see there. It’s worth a visit if you’re in Okayama!
Access 20 minutes by train and on foot from Okayama Station
costs 400 yen (Korakuen only) / 560 yen (Korakuen and Okayama Castle)
What to eat in Okayama
Okayama has many delicious local dishes and Sawara or Spanish mackerel is one of them. You can eat it in sashimi (raw slice), tataki (fried), grilled with salt, or saikyoyaki (marinated in miso), etc. Try many kinds of Sawara dishes!
Also, Okayama is one of the biggest fruit producers in Japan and we recommend you to try some during your stay in Okayama. A fresh fruit parfait filled with sweet fresh fruit is a must try.
Day trips from Okayama
We will introduce two other places where you can take a day trip when you have more time to visit the other area.
Takeda Castle is located in the northern part of Hyogo Prefecture and takes about 3 hours by Shinkansen (bullet train) and local trains. It was built on top of Mount Kojo whose altitude is 353.7 meters.
Dense fogs sometimes appear around this area in the morning. So, what could be seen there was the view of the castle that was covered in a thick fog. It seems that the castle floats on the sea of clouds.
Visit to Takeda Castle
Hiruzen highland resort is located in the northern part of Okayama. There are certain activities that you can do, for example, you can ride a bike in the beautiful nature or you can spend time on the farm. In winter, it is a popular ski destination.
Let’s visit Okayama!
We hope this article can inspire you to visit this beautiful city, Okayama. If you have any questions or want help planning your trip to Japan, contact us! Japan Wonder Travel is here to help you make your trip to Japan the best.
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