Okayama is located in the heart of Western Japan and offers smooth access to many major tourist destinations.Okayama prefecture located in Chugoku region which borders with Hyogo, Tottori, and Hiroshima Prefectures. The population of Okayama prefectures is around 1,922,000 people and mostly is concentrated around the historic towns of Kurashiki and Okayama. The small villages in the northern mountain region are aging and declining in population. Economically, it has a predominantly agricultural economy such as rice, grapes, peaches, igusa (rushes for tatami mats), cotton, and other cash crops are grown in the south, where farm techniques and mechanization are the most advanced in all over Japan. Okayama has a mild climate and has an extremely low level of rain and one of the highest numbers of sunny days per year, make this prefecture gaining a nicknamed as “the Land of sunshine”. Okayama is well known as the origin of famous folklore hero story named Momotaro was born and as the reason it has become a symbol of the prefecture.
1. Birthplace of the legend of MomotaroThe Japanese folk tale called Momotaro, it tell the story of a boy name Momotaro being born from a peach and was found and raised by the old couple. He commonly seen with his trust dog, monkey, and pheasant in tow along with this adventures getting rid of the demons. The origins of Momotaro, it is said to be here in Okayama Prefecture. So it not wonder visitors all over the world are sure to find Momotaro in various places throughout the city. It is Momotaro everywhere you look. There is Momotaro Odori (Momotaro Boulevard) the main street and Momotaro Statue in front Okayama Station, there is also Momotaro figure relaxing on top the postal box, or Momotaro manhole covers art, Momotaro tourist centre, and so many others. You can also visit many shrines and castle that related to the story. You can also visit the Momotaro Karakuri Museum where you can learn more about Momotaro and its world. The museum is full of fun attractions such as the amazing demon-infested caves of “Onigashima” (Demon Island), the optical illusion gimmicks, and Momotaro animations. Visitors can also find many Momotaro goods in the museum shop that you can buy and bring home as souvenirs. The more unusual one-of-a-kind Momotaro goods make for great souvenirs. Aside knowing the Momotaro’s world you can also try the Kibi Dango the famous food that Momoyaro took with him on his demon hunting.
2. The Land of SunshineThroughout the year, Okayama is blessed with minimal rain and a mild climate, earning it the nickname the “Land of Sunshine”. Okayama really bless with the sunshine throughout the year even by the season change into the cold temperature. Meaning Okayama will be fit to visit in every season without any worry of rain can screw up your itinerary. Whether you want to enjoy the beach at summer, sakura at spring, the mountain for the snow sport at the winter, or onsen at autumn surely you can enjoy all the attractions.
3. Harvest Season in the Fruit KingdomGrown in Okayama’s sun-soaked earth, the fruits in Okayama get highly sun rays that will help it grows at its best. Blessed with a mild climate, Okayama become home to a variety of sweet, fragrant, and delicious high-quality fruits, earning it the nickname of “Fruit Kingdom”. The local fruits offer unparalleled flavor, fragrance, and sweetness that become its attraction for tourist to taste the rich flavor of them. Okayama has different seasonal fruits that harvest all year, so you can check on Okayama harvest calendar first. There White Peach which Okayama best known as the “best flavor in Japan,” with fragrant and boast an elegant sweetness. It is no wonder Momotaro name got from the peach fruit (Momo). You can experience peach piking in Summer. There is also Muscat and Pione grapes, Okayama is home to a rich variety of grapes, from Japan’s largest production volume of Muscat of Alexandria to Shine Muscat (which can be eaten skin and all) and Pione. If you want to harvest them by yourself, make sure to come to the farm by autumn. Strawberries also good in Okayama, pick fresh strawberries ripe on the vine and compare the tastes of several varieties right on the spot! However, if you don’t have much time, you can just try the fruit parfait at hotels or café in Okayama that mostly offers creative fruit parfaits made this prefecture also being called by “City of Fruit Parfaits.”
Okayama Tourist Spots
1. Okayama Korakuen GardenOkayama Korakuen Garden is one of best 3 garden in Japan awarded 3 stars of the Michelin Green Guide Japan. This garden actually created 300 years ago by the daimyo of the area. This garden become the symbol Samurai power. This big garden has a Noh stage, ponds, hills, plum groves, and a thea plantation. The unique point of this garden is arranged with wide lawns that not usual found in Japanese gardens. This circuit-style garden is devised so that visitors can enjoy the passing scenery while strolling atop through the garden. At the heart of the park lies Ryuten Rest House, which features a stream running through it. Through the flow of the waterway directed to pass through underneath the building visitors are able to enjoy the movement of the water flowing through the area. For summer, you can escapes from the hotness to its coolness, and the seasonal flower like sakura, azalea, irises, lotuses. It is not only for the day, at autumn it offers a dreamy sight at the event limited for summer and autumn.
2. Kurashiki Bikan Historical QuarterThis is a townscape that the streets lines in white walled kominka (Japanese traditional houses), awarded 2 starts in the Michelin Green Guide Japan. This beautiful old town decorated with willow trees lining the banks of the Kurashiki River. Since 1600s until now the area still offers a historically atmosphere of calm and harmonious life. This town has several museum to visit and learn such as Ohara Museum of Arts, Kurashiki Museum of Folkcraft, and Kurashiki Archelogical Museum that show western influence harmonized with Japanese style. A particularly popular destination for tourists is the “Traditional Boat Tour of Kurashiki Canal.” This boat tour offers visitors a chance to admire the town’s white walls from a small boat along the Kurashiki River that flows through the center of town wearing Japanese traditional cloths.
3. Kojima Jeans StreetIf you a denim fan you must know about Kojima jeans or curious about why Kojima jeans is one of the world's most expensive one. Kojima Jeans Street is a street in Kojima that surrounding port area offer a chance to discover more about Japanese jeans, and it's likely that you'll walk away wearing something to remind you of your experience. This city is the birthplace of domestic jeans production, Kojima, with its high level of technology is renowned as a holy ground for Japanese denim. Mostly people said that the most feature of Kojima jeans is the texture. Tourists from all around Japan visit here looking for a unique denim just for themselves. You can choose many stylish and high quality jeans at over 30 different stores. Each store has each unique concept, selling vintage denim, one-of-a-kind jeans, for women and even denim loungewear. Other than that, clothes and leather products that will be great match with jeans also waiting for you to try on. Walking along the street, you will meet many clever ways jeans theme found such as, vending machines to public ashtrays featured the denim motif, and the street itself lies overstretched in more than one place with a jeans noren, and also the manhole art decorated with jeans.