Perhaps you haven’t heard of Okayama Prefecture before, but it is located in Chugoku region where you can see beautiful nature and the local neighborhood. The prefecture is known as Land of Sunshine due to its many sunny days (more than rainy days!). If you go to Naoshima island, you will pass Okayama prefecture since Uno port in Okayama is the place you can take a ferry which goes to Naoshima island.
Okayama is also close to Kansai area such as Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe so you can visit Okayama either before or after your trip to Naoshima.
In this article, we will introduce you the best places to visit in Okayama and after reading this, you will have a clearer idea of what it looks like in Okayama!
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1. Washuzan Mountain
Washuzan mountain is faced to Seto Inland Sea and close to the Great Seto Bridge. You can enjoy attractive views of the Seto Inland Sea, dotted with many small islands, and 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.
Go there by car and walk around the area while you enjoy some refreshing breeze from the sea. Sometimes you can find some cats relaxing on the summit area. It takes only 20 minutes to get to the top of the mountain. You will see the view over the beautiful Seto inland sea.
Access It is best to go there by car, it takes about 40 min by car from Uno station
2. Shibukawa Beach
Shibukawa Beach is located in Tamano City where Uno port, the gateway to Naoshima, is also located. There are usually not so many people there (except when the local school events are held) and you can have relaxing time at the beach. Enjoy the sound of the wave and appreciate the beauty of the 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 Uno station
3. Kurashiki Bikan Historical Area
Kurashiki Bikan Historical Area is one of the best touristic spots in Okayama. In the history, Kurashiki Bikan area was flourished as a merchant town. The town remains until today with the good old atmosphere and many traditional style houses. There are lots of shops and places to eat and get the local experience.
Kurashiki Bikan Area is famous for their historical Japanese traditional buildings and shops, restaurants and museums. The area looks like time has stopped since Edo period (17th-19th). 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 some high quality denim that will fit you perfectly. Don’t forget to try the Denim hamburger with the blue color buns!
If you have enough time, we recommend to take Yakata Boat. Back in the days, locals would use the boat to deliver their goods but now they are running among the Kurashiki River for the visitors. It is very relaxing and you will find the view of Kurashiki Bikan from the boat has the different attraction.
4. Okayama Castle
Okayama Castle is called Crow Castle because its black walls. It has a connection to Toyotomi who used to be the top warrior in the early 1600’s. The castle was originally built in 1597, but it was destroyed during the Second World War and the castle you can see today was reconstructed in 1966. It is six story castle and each story has a different exhibition on display. You can see how the castle was built and what they used in the history. Also you can learn some history of Okayama castle and enjoy some panoramic views of Okayama city from the sixth floor. Since it was rebuilt only 50 years ago, this black castle looks clean and beautiful.
Access 20 min by train & walk from Okayama station
Fee ¥560 (you can go to Okayama Korakuen Garden as well)
5. Okayama Korakuen Garden
This garden is located right next to Okayama Castle. It has really beautiful Japanese garden and is known as one of the best three beautiful gardens in Japan. save about 1-2 hours to explore all the way around this big garden. If you are interested in architecture, there are some traditional old buildings to see there. It is worth to visit if you are in Okayama!
Access 20min by train & walk from Okayama station
Fee ¥400 (Korakuen only) / ¥560 (Korakuen and Okayama Castle)
What to eat in Okayama
Okayama has many delicious local foods and Sawara or Spanish Mackerel is one of them. You can eat it as Sashimi(raw slice) , Tataki (seared), grilled with salt or Saikyoyaki (marinated in Miso) etc., try out many different kind of Sawara meals!
Also, Okayama is one of the largest fruit production in Japan and we recommend you to try some while your stay in Okayama! A fresh fruit parfait full of sweet fresh fruits on top is something you must try.
Day trips from Okayama
We will introduce two more places where you can take a day trip when you have more time to visit the other area.
Takeda castle is located in the north side of Hyogo prefecture and it takes about 3 hours by Shinkansen (bullet train) and local trains. It was built on Mt. Kojo summit whose altitude is at 353.7 meters.
The thick fogs sometimes appears around this area in the morning. So what you could see there is the view of the castle which covered with thick fogs. It looks like the castle is floating on the sea of clouds.
Hiruzen Resort Highland
Hiruzen resort highland is located in the northern part of Okayama. There are some activities you can do, for example, you can enjoy cycling in the beautiful nature or you can hang out on the farm. In winter season, it is popular destination for skiing.
Let’s visit Okayama!
We hope this article could inspire you to go to this beautiful city, Okayama. If you have any question or want some help to make travel plans in Japan, please contact us! Japan Wonder Travel is here for you to make your Japan trip the best one.