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Okayama (prefecture)

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Revision as of 15:51, 31 March 2009 by 58.191.155.98 (Talk)

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Okayama prefecture (岡山県 Okayama-ken) is in the western Chugoku region of the main Japanese island Honshu.

Understand

Cities

  • Kurashiki Old merchant town with a well-preserved historical quarter.
  • Okayama The prefectural capital, with a brooding black castle and peachy festivals.
  • Tsuyama A city famous for its well-preserved historic district and Kakuzan Park, which is the best place in the prefecture for Cherry Blossom viewing (hanami).
  • Takahashi An old castle town that is home to Bitchu Matsuyama Castle, one of the few remaining original castles of Japan and also the highest.
  • Niimi A great place for nature-lovers, Niimi has two famous caves that visitors can enjoy.
  • Kume
  • Bizen The birthplace of both Bizen swords and Bizen pottery, famous throughout Japan.
  • Akaiwa
  • Kumenan Small town in central Okayama with the peaceful atmosphere typical of the Japanese countryside.
  • Tamano

Talk

Get in

By plane

Okayama airport (OKA) has flights to Tokyo (1 hr), Sapporo (2 hrs) and Naha on Okinawa (2 hrs). There are also international flights to Shanghai and Seoul (both 1.5 hrs).

By train

Okayama is a hub for trains: it's a station of the San'yo Shinkansen line connecting Kyushu and Hiroshima towards Osaka, and there are frequent departures south across the Seto Inland Sea to Takamatsu and other points in Shikoku.

By bus

123bus [1] is company which provides daily night time bus services between Okayama and Tokyo, between Okayama and Osaka. With online booking services in English.

Get around

By car

The Chugoku Expressway passes through Tsuyama and Niimi.

See

  • Take a stroll through Korakuen Garden, one of Japan's top three gardens (Okayama)
  • See the majestic Bitchu Matsuyama Castle, one of the few remaining original castles in Japan, as well as the highest (Takahashi)
  • Browse the shops and museums in the beautiful Bikan Historic District, one of the largest and best preserved historic districts in the nation (Kurashiki)
  • Tour the Shizutani School, the first school in Japan to be open to all citizens regardless of rank or class (Bizen)
  • View the large collection of famous European artwork at the Ohara Museum of Art (Kurashiki)
  • Discover the production methods of Bizen Pottery and Bizen swords, once the best in Japan, at the Bizen Osafune Museum and Okayama Prefectural Museum of Bizen Pottery (Bizen)
  • Wander the grounds of Saijo Inari, considered to be one of Japan's three great Inari shrines (Okayama)
  • Visit Iyama Hofukuji Temple where the famous poet and priest Sesshu once studied (Soja)
  • Explore the beautiful Ikura Ravine and Maki Cave (Niimi)
  • Walk among the mysterious rock formations on Ojigatake Hill (Tamano)
  • Relax on Washuzan Hill and enjoy views of the Seto Inland Sea and Seto Ohashi Bridge (Kurashiki)

Do

  • View the thousands of cherry blossoms as you stroll among the ruins of Tsuyama Castle (Tsuyama)
  • Learn about the History of Okayama Prefecture and the story that inspired the tale of Momotaro as you bike (or hike) along the Kibiji District Trail (Okayama)
  • Partake in the festivities celebrating Momotaro at the Momotaro Festival (Okayama)


Hot Springs

The most famous hot springs in the prefecture are Yubara Hot Springs, Yunogo Hot Springs, and Okutsu Hot Spring, all located in the northern part of the prefecture. Each of these make great getaway destinations to relax and rejuvinate.

If these are too far out of the way, you can also try Niimi Chiya Hot Springs in Niimi, Asagiri Onsen in Takahashi, or Green Hills Tsuyama in Tsuyama. The Seto Ohashi Spa Resort in Kurashiki is also well worth a visit.

Eat

  • Okayama's Muscat grapes and peaches are the tastiest in the nation.
  • Kibi Dango is a famous treat that originated in Bizen in Okayama Prefecture.

Drink

As you might expect from a grape-growing region, Okayama is famous for wine (at least in Japan). There is "Sapporo Okayama winery" that represents West Japan.

Get out

  • Hyogo Prefecture located to the east, is home to Himeji, a city most famous for its well-preserved white castle. Further travel will take you to Kobe, a harbor city.
  • Tottori Prefecture to the north is most famous for its natural sites, including the Tottori Sand Dunes, the only dunes in Japan, located in Tottori City. In the eastern region lies Daisen, home to Mount Daisen, a popular place for climbing, hiking, and skiing (in the winter). Daisen-ji Temple is also located on this mountain. The Mitokusan Nageiredo is a mysterious temple built on a cliff in Misasa in which to this day nobody knows how it was built.
  • Hiroshima Prefecture lies to the west of Okayama Prefecture. The nearest city is Fukuyama, featuring a variety of art and historical museums, as well as Fukuyama Castle. The most famous sites in this prefecture are Genbaku Dome in Peace Park and the Atomic Bomb Memorial Museum in the city of Hiroshima and Itsukushima Shrine on Miyajima Island. Onomichi is another interesting destination with its own 88 Temples of Innoshima, inspired by the famous 88 Temple Pilgrimage of Shikoku. It also has many places to view flowers and the Innoshima Suigun Castle.



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