Okayama is a convenient destination for many travellers for various reasons. Okayama, the capital city of Okayama Prefecture in the Chugoku Region, developed during the Edo Period as a castle town and since then, it has continued to be a significant destination for leisure travellers and business people.
Okayama is a fantastic travel destination. Apart from it being home to one of the three great gardens of Japan, there are many other amazing spots to enjoy during your visit here. The city is also inexpensive making it a good option for travellers travelling on a budget.
Okayama is not referred to as the land of sunshine without a good reason. This is one place you are sure to enjoy your vacation from beginning to end. While at Okayama, it is easier to explore other neighbouring destinations such as Hiroshima and Himeji Castle. Besides, many day trips are super convenient since the city is on the bullet train line. If you choose to make Okayama your next travel destination, here are some of the best things you will get to enjoy in Okayama and beyond during your visit.
1. Okayama Korakuen Garden
Korakuen Garden is one of the most famous attractions in Okayama. In fact, your tour would not be complete without visiting this incredible large landscape garden. The garden was established in 1687 by the feudal lord to entertain his family and visitors. And since then, it has continued to entertain the large number of travellers who frequent Okayama for various purposes.
The garden features many classic elements such as a lookout point up the hill, a large pond with stone bridges and also small shrines. On top of that, you will get to enjoy the view of a cherry blossom grove (if you plan your visit during the cherry blossom season), a cluster of bamboo and rice fields. Spare a few hours so that you can have enough time to explore this gorgeous attraction site.
2. Nishigawa Canal Park
Although Nishigawa Canal Park may not be counted as a top attraction site in Okayama, it is a great place when you want to relax and unwind away from the crowd. This is one pleasant place you are sure to have a good time thanks to the beautiful flowers, cherry trees and the sculptures. Plus there are nice benches you can sit on as you relax. It’s also a perfect place to just stroll in the evenings as you enjoy the quiet environment or take that morning jog. So healthy, refreshing and therapeutic particularly during the cherry blossom season.
3. Easy access
Okayama’s fantastic location provides easier movement to both its travellers and locals. When you visit here, the last thing you need to worry about is accessibility. The capital of Okayama prefecture is located in the western part of Honshu Island between the popular cities of Hiroshima and Osaka. Thus, the city is a well-known transit point between the two cities. Moreover, it is well connected to other major cities through the Shinkansen bullet train. No wonder most people touring Japan choose to stop over here for a few days or even weeks before they proceed to other destinations. For that reason, Okayama is a good destination for families and groups because moving around and about is not a challenge.
4. Okayama Castle
Okayama Castle is another attraction site worth your time and money during your visit here. The Castle is located across the Asahi River from the Korakuen Garden. The Castle which was originally completed in 1597 is also called the Crow Castle due to its black outer wall. Unfortunately, just like several other Japanese castles, the Okayama Castle was destroyed in World War Two and the current one is a reconstruction of the same. Even at that, the uniqueness and beauty of the castle still remain the same. The view of the castle from the outside is jaw-dropping. However, if you want to know more about the castle’s history, an opportunity to dress up like a princess or a feudal lord or even make a Bizen pottery, then you have to get inside. If you choose to dress like a lord or a princess, then make sure you take some good pictures for future memories.
5. Handayama Botanical Garden
If you want to experience cherry blossom season at its best, the magical Handayama Botanical Garden is the best spot. It is a hillside garden with a fantastic view of the city. The beautiful cherry trees stretch all the way allowing you to indulge in the incredible beauty of this part of the world.
This hidden gem also provides a great place for lovers to hang out as they enjoy each other’s company. The environment is friendly and the place is not overcrowded. If you want to surprise your better half with a weekend getaway, then make sure you visit Handayama Botanical Garden particularly on a sunny afternoon during the cherry blossom season. The plenty of grassy spaces to lie on as you enjoy the garden’s beauty will help you create one of your best moments since you met the love of your life. It is also a perfect place when you just want to spend some time alone away from the hustles and bustles of the busy city life.
6. Delicious food
During your visit to Okayama, you will get to enjoy various specially prepared dishes. If you are a Muslim, you will be surprised by all the Muslim-friendly options available. From barazushi, ramen, kibi dango to the tastiest Chiya beef, Okayama is one place you will never forget the tasty meals you indulged in during your stay.
7. The Momotaro Folk Tale
Momotaro is a myth that originated in Okayama. Momotaro folklore is usually told as bedtime stories and many kids in Japan grew up listening to it. It is also portrayed in films and even cartoons. According to the story, the peach boy was born a peach and he was found by a childless couple who brought him up. Momotaro became a celebrated hero when he fought and overcame a group of evil ogres with the help of his newfound friends, a monkey, a dog and a peasant. He managed to convince his friends to join him in the fight by offering them his millet dumplings. Isn’t it an interesting story? If you have read the story in books or watched it in films, then tour Japan and get to see the statue of Momotaro outside the Okayama Station.
Okayama, the best destination
Okayama is a gorgeous place to be with more than enough things to experience during your visit. Besides, the city’s convenient location enables travellers to explore many other neighbouring destinations without a struggle. Hence, you can never get enough of the city and its environs. Just make sure you have enough time to explore the destination to your level best.