May 12, 2015


(Updated in April 2017)

Okayama(岡山)is quite near to Kobe, where I was staying. It's a prefecture quite neglected by locals and foreigners alike, though Kurashiki(倉敷)is really worth visiting, and 1 of the 3 great gardens of Japan-- Korakuen(後楽園), and the oldest surviving castle-- Bitchu Matsuyama-jo(備中松山城), are also there. It's nice to combine Okayama with a trip to Hiroshima~

For Okayama, I think I covered quite extensively. Of course I went to Kurashiki, not far from Okayama City. It has a preserved canal area that dates back to the Edo period. Kurashiki(倉敷)means "town of storehouses", as it used to be a rice distribution center. Many of the storehouses have been converted to museums, shops and cafes.

When I reached Kurashiki, it was already afternoon, so decided to spend all the time on Ohara Museum, the most representative in that area, with many works from famous Western artists. Even though I'm not into museums, enjoyed myself there.

Didn't have time to chill in the cafes, but had a really good yet affordable dinner at this restaurant along the Shotengai(商店街)on the way back to the station.

Also went to Okayama Castle(岡山城)and Korakuen in Okayama City. The former is a very new rebuilt. Compared to the other 2 great gardens, Korakuen is quite small and nothing much to see..

I prefer Bitchu Takahashi(備中高梁)area, less developed/touristy. Bitchu Matsuyama Castle, 1 of the 12 original castles (in fact the oldest) and the only original mountaintop castle, is not so accessible. It's a long walk and climb up, so lazy me opted for taxi. The castle is really small, probably the smallest I've seen as yet, but also very original.

Having a love for castle towns(城下町), spent some time exploring the samurai and merchant houses too.

Also went to the Bizen(備前)area, another rarely explored area. This area is famous for Bizen ware(備前焼), a type of Japanese pottery. Visited Shizutani School(閑谷学校), the oldest public school in Japan dating back to early Edo period. Its roof is made of Bizen ware tiles.

My most memorable part of the Okayama trip was cycling along Kibi Plain(吉備路). The Kibi Plain is a rurul flatland just outside of central Okayama City, with large fields and shrines & temples along the way. It is 17 km long, and bicycle rental is available at either ends of the trail. Most parts of the trail had clear signs, but there was one part we got lost and had to follow another kind cyclist from Tokyo. Took around 5 hours in total, though it was spring, so not so tiring and pretty enjoyable. Had local Momotaro soba that comes with Kibi dango for lunch!

Went to Okayama again in 2017, this time for Tsuyama Castle Ruins'(津山城)cherry blossoms! It is known as one of the top 100 cherry blossom spots in Japan. The views were indeed impressive, almost made it to my top 10 sakura viewing spots~

Of course, Okayama is famous for fruits like peaches and grapes, so do not miss them when in season~ Joined a Yokoso bus tour in summer that included going to a sunflower field and picking peaches, plus all-you-can-eat peaches and mangoes!

Also recommend Ramen Takumi(麺屋匠)at Okayama station, had dinner there randomly during the previous trip, but it was so good I dreamt of it weeks later!


Post a Comment