Okayama Castle and Korakuen Garden
In the dialect of Okayama — “Koke! (Come here!)" — and travel into the past.
As if you were back in the 1600s, feel and experience the countryside life of Japan at Okayama Castle. Located in the center of Okayama prefecture in Okayama City, the area is bright and bustling with shopping centers. However, it also offers easy access from the station to travel back in time.
About the castle
Back to Sengoku Period (1467-1590), many castles were built by the order of daimyo (feudal lord). Built in 1597, Okayama Castle is one of them. After that, in the Edo Period (1603-1868), Okayama Korakuen Garden was constructed next to the castle at the turn of the century. There, the feudal lord had a place of relief and could entertain guests.
Because the castle’s external wall is black, it is said be reminiscent of a crow. Okayama Castle is commonly referred to as “Crow Castle.” Although it had been burnt by the airstrike of World War II, some parts remained and were registered as “Important Cultural Properties” and the rest was reconstructed in the next few years from 1964.
As a place of amusement for daimyo, it’s certainly a garden fit for a lord. Along with Kairakuen Garden in Ibaraki Prefecture and Kenrokuen Garden in Ishikawa Prefecture, the castle’s Korakuen Garden is said to be one of the three great gardens of Japan and has a rating of three stars by Michelin Green Guide Japan.
Visitors will be enveloped by lush scenery, greatly maintained water spaces with koi fish, as well as seasonal highlights and events. Visitors can expect striking cherry blossoms in spring plus autumn foliage. It also hosts a rice planting event in May, and visitors can witness it prospering through the summer months.
If you get tired from all that exploring, don’t forget to try one of a refreshing Japanese shaved ice, which you can buy on the castle grounds. Recalling Edo-period life in Okayama will lead to a better understanding of Japanese history and tradition.
Dig Japanese history? Read more on where to find historic gems.