Okayama Prefecture is situated in the Chugoku region of Japan and is known for the legendary tale of Momotaro, which is famous throughout the country. Its capital, Okayama city, has several significant historical attractions. From the impressive Okayama Castle to the stunning Okayama Korakuen Garden, designated as a national treasure of Japan, the city is steeped in rich history. In this feature, we introduce a half-day sightseeing plan for Okayama so you can immerse yourself in the city's fascinating past.
List of contents
●Traveling around Okayama
●Okayama Korakuen Garden
Traveling around Okayama
Accessing the tourist spots in Okayama City is incredibly convenient, as many attractions are within walking distance from each other. Additionally, taking a bus to travel around the city is also a convenient option. Upon exiting the station, you will immediately see signs pointing you towards the city's main attractions, Okayama Castle (岡山城) and Okayama Korakuen Garden (岡山後楽園). Buses to Okayama Castle can be boarded at bus stops numbered 9, 10, and 11, while buses to Okayama Korakuen Garden can be boarded at bus stop number 1.
However, both the castle and the garden are located next to each other, so you can choose to visit one first and then walk to the other.
Okayama Castle (岡山城) is a historic Japanese castle located in Okayama city. Originally built in 1597, the castle was destroyed during World War II and later rebuilt with concrete in 1966. After undergoing renovation, it was reopened to the public on November 3, 2022, and is equipped with air conditioning, an elevator, and exhibits featuring historical documents of the castle.
Inside the castle grounds, there are vending machines featuring illustrations of Okayama Castle.
The building is in pristine condition, allowing visitors to admire its architectural motifs up close from the outside or explore the inside of the castle.
Adjacent to the castle tower, a pathway leads to Okayama Korakuen Garden, which can be easily reached on foot.
Okayama Korakuen Garden
Okayama Korakuen (岡山後楽園) is a beautiful Japanese garden located in Okayama city and is one of Japan's three great gardens. Originally built in 1700 by Ikeda Tsunamasa, the lord of Okayama, the garden was recognized as one of the most beautiful in Japan and awarded three stars by the Michelin Green Guide. The garden covers an area of about 13 hectares and features a large central pond, several teahouses, a traditional Japanese-style arch bridge, a variety of trees and plants, and even a tea plantation, quite unusual in Japan.
While at Okayama Castle, you can spot the Asahi river, which was used as a moat, and a bridge that leads to Okayama Korakuen.
You can enjoy time on the river in these adorable pedal boats shaped like peaches, which are symbols of the legendary figure Momotaro, and showcase the distinctiveness of Okayama prefecture.
A pedal boat rental pier can be easily spotted when crossing the bridge.
All you have to do is cross the Tsukimi Bridge and access to the park can be found on the right side.
This is the ticket counter for Okayama Korakuen Garden when visiting directly from Okayama Castle.
Inside the park, there is a small shop selling snacks and food, providing a perfect spot to sit and take a break.
Additionally, a large tea plantation can be found within the garden, along with a picturesque pond featuring a bridge over the water.
Okayama Korakuen Garden is a stunning example of traditional Japanese garden design featuring interesting structures such as Enyo-tei House and Ryūten Rest House.
For those looking to enjoy the park at a leisurely pace, we recommend setting aside 2-3 hours to fully appreciate its beauty and tranquility.
If you are visiting this spot first, you can use the ticket counter by the main entrance to the garden.
The garden also has a crane aviary since it has been home to many kinds of cranes since the 17th century.
This is why there are stunning cranes on top of the postbox in front of the garden.
Opening hours: 20 March-30 September, 7:30-18:00 / 1 October-19 March, 8:00-17:00
Admission fee: Adult (15-64 years old), 410 yen; Senior citizens, 140 yen; Free for children
If you have some spare time in the park, we highly recommend trying the fried kibi dango at Hekisuien (碧水園), a relaxing space next to Korakuen & Okayama Castle.
The counter seats at this restaurant have a great view of the castle and river. You can also enjoy a range of delicious meals such as momotaro omurice, shrimp curry, tonkotsu ramen and more.
Gyukatsu Kyoto Katsugyu (牛カツ京都勝牛)
Gyukatsu is a tender beef steak that has been coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried and when in Okayama, there is no better place to try it than at Gyukatsu Kyoto Katsugyu (牛カツ京都勝牛), the most popular restaurant in Japan for this dish. Located in the basement of Sansute, a department store at Okayama station, you won’t be disappointed by the food here.
The beef and pork cutlets on rice with a demi-glace sauce are a local speciality.
Sansute (さんすて) is a bustling department store conveniently located next to Okayama Station, catering to both locals and travelers alike. With its wide array of shops, including clothing stores, souvenir shops, and restaurants, Sansute offers a one-stop shopping experience.
One of Okayama's famous souvenirs is kibi dango, sweet millet dumplings. Click on this feature to find out the various kinds of kibi dango available in cute packaging.
Hope you find this feature helpful in planning your trip to Okayama city on your next visit to Japan.