Okayama Sights and Landmarks Guide, Japan
Okayama, the capital of Okayama prefecture is more widely known for being an important transport hub than a sightseeing paradise, and many people overlook this city on their way to Fukuoka, Nagoya, or other more famous destinations. However, there are plenty of reasons that should convince you to spend more than a couple of hours waiting for a train in Okayama.
Like most large and old Japanese cities, Okayama has a castle, and quite an impressive one. Add a lush park to the combination and a couple of museums, and you get a city where it’s worth spending at least a couple of days. In addition, Okayama is a great starting point for an exploration of the Kibiji District, an accumulation of temples and historical sites. This Okayama Sights Guide will detail a few of the city’s major landmarks.
Okayama Sights Guide - Castles and Temples
Okayama Castle is the most important attraction of the city. Originally built in the 16th century, large parts of the castle were unfortunately destroyed during World War II, but a replica was created in 1966. The castle is painted in black, a stark contrast to the white Himeji Castle. Despite being a replica, it is skillfully done, and only tell-tale sign of the castle’s newness is the presence of air-conditioning.
Kibitsuhiko and Kibitsu Shrines were built in the Middle Ages in honor of prince Kibitsuhiko-no-mikoto, and they celebrate the site where the prince killed the demon Ura. Kibitsu District also hosts two rather interesting burial mounds: Tsukuriyama Ancient Burial Mounds are rather impressive, but the tombs have not yet been excavated and visitors are not permitted to enter. However, you can enter the nearby Komorizuka Burial Mound which is equally interesting despite its smaller size. Lastly, don’t forget to visit the site of Takamatsu Castle; it is one of the most important historical sites in Japan.
Okayama Sights Guide - Parks and Museums
Kōraku-en is the largest park in Okayama, built during the Edo Period. The park hosts countless miniature shrines, ponds, groves, pavilions and even an artificial hill that offers a great view of the entire garden. If you are interested in eastern art, this Okayama Sights Guide recommends that you visit the Okayama Orient Museum, where you can find everything from Japanese to Persian and Chinese art. Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art features paintings by famous artists from the prefecture, and Yumeji Art Museum is dedicated to the works of Yumeji Takehisa, a very appreciated Japanese artist born in Okayama.
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