Okayama is a hidden gem that lies in the heart of Honshu Island. The prefecture is located between Osaka and Hiroshima and has a unique blend of natural and cultural attractions. If you are looking for an adventure or simply want to experience the authentic, laid-back rural Japan, Okayama has got you covered. We have compiled a list of ten hidden gems you must see in Okayama for the ultimate adventure.
1. Kibitsu Shrine
Kibitsu Shrine, founded in the 3rd century, is one of the oldest and most beautiful shrines in Japan. The Shrine is located in Kibitsu, a small town in the eastern part of Okayama. The Shrine is known for its beautiful architecture and enormous bronze torii gate that leads to the main shrine. Visitors can also enjoy beautiful cherry blossoms, azalea bushes, and maple trees that surround the Shrine.
2. Bitchu Matsuyama Castle
Bitchu Matsuyama Castle is one of the few surviving mountain castles in Japan. The castle was built in the 13th century and is located on top of a 430 meters high mountain in Takahashi City. Visitors can enjoy a breathtaking view of the surrounding landscape from the castle, which was constructed with the purpose of defending against enemy attacks.
3. Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter
The Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter is a charming area that retains the architecture and atmosphere of the Edo period (1603-1868). The town, located in Kurashiki City, features beautiful wooden buildings, traditional shops, and a stunning canal that adds to the area’s charm. Visitors can also enjoy the Ohara Museum, which showcases an impressive collection of Western and Japanese art.
4. Tsuyama Castle
Tsuyama Castle, located in Tsuyama City, is a beautiful castle that was built in the 16th century. The castle was an important political center and played a crucial role in the battles between the Tokugawa Clan and the Toyotomi Clan. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful architecture of the castle, which features a unique curved stone wall and a beautiful garden.
5. Ikura Gorge
The Ikura Gorge is a beautiful natural attraction located in the middle of the mountains in the eastern part of Okayama. The gorge, which is only accessible by foot, is surrounded by beautiful trees and has waterfalls and crystal clear streams that are perfect for swimming. The area is popular with hikers and nature lovers who enjoy the peace and tranquility of the location.
6. Okayama Korakuen Garden
Okayama Korakuen Garden is considered one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens. The garden, located in Okayama City, dates back to the Edo period and features beautiful ponds, teahouses, and traditional Japanese bridges. Visitors can also enjoy the stunning view of Okayama Castle from the garden.
7. Yunogo Hot Springs
Yunogo Hot Springs, located in Mimasaka City, is a popular destination for those who want to relax and enjoy the benefits of a traditional Japanese hot spring. The hot spring water is rich in minerals and is known for its healing properties. Visitors can enjoy the view of the surrounding mountains while soaking in the hot water.
8. Washuzan Observatory
The Washuzan Observatory is a beautiful observation deck that offers a stunning view of the Seto Inland Sea and…