Boasting one of Japan’s most famous traditional gardens, Okayama is the setting for the famous Japanese folktale “Momotaro”. In addition to the museums and art galleries that cluster its centre, Okayama is the launching point for scenic cycling tours through the historically-rich Kibi Plain.
Things to do in Okayama
On the banks of the Asahi River lies the six-storey castle keep of Okayama Castle, which has been nicknamed “crow castle” due to its black exterior. Learn about the castle’s 16th-century history and its reconstruction in 1966, then admire the original "moon viewing turret” of Tsukimi Yagura.
Considered one of the three great gardens of Japan, Kōraku-en lies on the opposite bank of the Asahi River. Wander along its scenic promenades that weave between spacious lawns, island-dotted ponds and traditional tea houses, as well as groves of plum, cherry and maple trees.
On the outskirts of Okayama is the Kibi Plain, a picturesque rural region of sprawling fields dotted with traditional farmhouses, shrines and temples. A 17-kilometre-long cycling trail leads between its historic sights, which include burial mounds dating back to the 4th-century Kibi Kingdom.
Discover the legend of Prince Kibitsuhiko as you cycle past the Kibitsuhiko Shrine before admiring the beautiful main hall at the Kibitsu Shrine where he defeated a tyrannical ogre. Climb to the top of the burial mound at Tsukuriyama Kofun for impressive views of the surrounding plain, then admire the five-storey pagoda at the temple of Bitchu-Kokubunji.
Getting around Okayama
Okayama Airport is 30 minutes’ drive from Okayama’s city centre, which is 3.5 hours by train from Tokyo. Two tram lines travel through Okayama, but most of the attractions are within easy walking distance of one another.