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  3. Crow Castle Overlooking Three-Star Rating Garden

Crow Castle Overlooking the Three-Star Rating Garden:
Okayama Castle, Okayama Korakuen Garden, Museums

and Traditional plays called taishu engeki

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Samurai at Okayama Momotaro Festival Koto Players in Okayama Korakuen Garden Wilson

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  • Okayama Castle along Asahi River
  • Gate of Okayama Castle
  • Exhibits in Okayama Castle
  • City Circular Bus

Overlook the Urban City & the Great Garden. - Okayama Castle -

Okayama Castle, just behind Okayama Prefectural Library, is nicknamed "Ujo Castle", or Crow Castle, from its black appearance. The uniquely structured castle has the base of an irregular pentagon and it is the only castle that keeps its shape in Japan. In consideration of the circumstances of the period when it was established, it was extremely hard to build a castle in pentagon. But it was constructed to raise the dignity of a ruler by making it bigger and to make it an impregnable fortress by erecting columns on firm ground around the end of the 16th century. Unfortunately, it was burned to ground from air raids in World WarⅡ. The present castle is a 1966 reconstruction with the original outside appearance and a living room in a traditional Japanese style of residential architecture, named shoin-zukuri.

The three-layered, six-story keep has a panoramic view of the urban area including Okayama Korakuen Garden. Bizenyaki Studio in the castle provides a class of Bizen pottery for visitors.

Various events, including Ujo Hatsuyume Festival and Okayama Momotaroh Festival, are held at the castle.

Getting here: 15 min. by a city circular bus, "No. 3 Masuno Line" of green-colored "Megrin" from Okayama Station (in front of ICOTNICOT), and 5 min. on foot from Kencho-mae bus stop / Directly from Okayama Korakuen Garden; Pass through South Gate of the garden and cross the Tsukimi Bridge over the Asahi River.

Rental bicycles available at Ekirin-kun close to Hotel Granvia Okayama located near Okayama Station East Gate.

Click here to jump to the sightseeing map of downtown Okayama

Closed: December 29 to 31

Admission: 300 yean for adults (15 & over) / 120 yen for children(6-14) ( Period during Exchange of Displays; 150 yen for adults / 60 yen for children ) / Free for international students with a student ID in Okayama Prefecture

Combined tickets with Okayama Korakuen Garden or Okayama Korakuen Garden & Hayashibara Museum of Art available.

Group discount available for a group of 20 or more people.

Free Wi-Fi service available.

  • Enyo-tei House in Okayama Korakuen Garden
  • Korakuen Bus
  • Cherry Blossoms in Okayama Korakuen Garden
  • Red-Crowned Crane

Ramble about the Three-Star Rating Garden. - Okayama Korakuen Garden -

Okayama Korakuen Garden is one of the three great gardens in Japan.

It is a strolling-type landscape garden established as an oasis for Load Ikeda, the feudal lord of Bizen Province in the Edo Period (1603-1867), with training grounds for Japanese archery and horse-riding. It was used as a place to recuperate well and to receive guests of honor for the lord. In addition, it was open to the people in the province on dates set previously.

The garden has a wide view of native Japanese lawns. Originally only ground visible from Enyo-tei House, or the main structure in the garden, was covered with lawn. Later, they were extended to the rest of the fields .

Okayama Korakuen Garden has kept red-crowned cranes, called "tancho", featuring its red unfeathered head, since about 300 years ago, except for some time after World War Ⅱ. They died off from the deterioration of the rearing environment. In 1956, two cranes were brought to the garden by the head of Chinese Academy of Sciences, who had ever studied at the Sixth Higher School in Okayama City. Today eight cranes are raised in cages and released into the garden on New Year's Day and the third of January, and a few days a month from September to February. It is designated as a special natural treasure of Japan and the bird of Okayama City.

Okayama Korakuen Garden holds a lot of seasonal events, such as "Early Spring Festival" from January 1 to January 3, "Goshinko Festival" on the first Sunday of April, "Yosai Tea Ceremony" on the fourth Sunday of April, "Tea Picking Festival" on the third Sunday of May, "Special Late-Night Garden Opening; Garden of Dreams", including a beer garden, during August and "Moon Viewing Ceremony" on August 15 in the old lunar calendar. In Early Spring Festival held on New Year's Day, long Japanese zithers named koto are played in Enyo-tei House. These events give visitors the sense of the season.

Seasonally blooming flowers, such as cherry blossom, hirado azalea, kirishima azalea, satsuki azalea, lotus blossom, Japanese plum blossom, are grown in the garden, providing glorious scenery.

One-kilometer rows of cherry trees are planted along the Asahi River Cherry Blossom Walk adjacent to the garden, and the blossoms in full bloom provide a gorgeous view from late March to early April. In the summertime, many local people take a stroll along the river for the purpose of cooling down.

Getting here: 10 min. by Okayama Korakuen Bus or Korakuen Non-stop Bus from Platform No. 1 of Okayama Station East Gate Bus Terminal to Okayama Korakuen Garden / 25 min. on foot from Okayama Station / Directly from Okayama Castle; Pass through Corridor Gate of the castle and cross the Tsukimi Bridge over the Asahi River.

Rental bicycles available at Ekirin-kun by Hotel Granvia Okayama located close to Okayama Station East Gate.

Multifunctional bidet toilet seats, washlet toilet seats, available at the toilet by the main gate.

Click here to jump to the sightseeing map of downtown Okayama

Open all year round

Admission: 400 yen for adults (15-64) / 140 yen for children (6-14) & senior (65 & over) / Free for international students at university, college or the like in Okayama Prefecture / Free on New Year's Day & March 2 (Garden Opening Commemoration Day)

Admission is free for any person wearing a yukata, Japanese summer kimono, after 5:00 pm on "Yukata Day", every Friday of August.

Combined tickets with Okayama Castle, Okayama Prefectural Museum, or Okayama Castle & Hayashibara Museum of Art available.

Group discount available for a group of 20 or more people.

Free Wi-Fi service available. For more information, visit Okayama Korakuen Navi.

  • Dance Performance at Okayama Momotaroh Festival
  • Classical Martial Arts at Okayama Momotaroh Festival in Autumn
  • Musket Troop at Okayama Momotaroh Festival in Autumn
  • Momotaroh Fantasy

Enjoy Unique Powerful Dancing. - Okayama Momotaroh Festival -

"Okayama Momotaro Festival" is held in downtown Okayama in summer, autumn and winter. The main event takes place in summer.

In summer, cheerful dances, called Uraja Dance, are performed by local young people in unique costume, in various places, including Shiyakusho-suji Avenue in front of Aeon Mall Okayama and the square in front of East Gate of Okayama Station, on the first Saturday of August and the following Sunday. Uraja Parade and the dance performances by a lot of dance groups, based on the legend of ogre extermination in Okayama, attract spectators at the venues charged with intense excitement.

The autumn festival is held in October at Okayama Castle as the main venue, featuring the local dishes, performing arts and history. Visitors can enjoy traditional performing arts, such as Japanese drums and dancing performed by local people, and a samurai historical pageant. There are various foods from street stalls serving local dishes of Okayama and other prefectures.

In December, the spuare of East Gate of Okayama Station is illuminated at night. Nishigawa Illumination is also held in Nishigawa Canal Walk situated on the way to Okayama Castle from Okayama Station.

  • Yumeji Art Museum in Early Spring
  • Yumeji Art Museum from Okayama Korakuen Garden
  • Yumeji Art Museum in Summer

In the Japanese-Style Lyric World. - Yumeji Art Museum -

Yumeji Takeshita born in Okayama Prefecture in 1884 was active as a lyric painter known for a lot of paintings of beautiful women and lyric poet in the early 20th century. His works entitled "Yumeji-style beauties" attract attention as mass art. Since being a mass artist, he was not accepted by the art world of Japan in his lifetime. But its interest in his works has increased after World War Ⅱ.

Yumeji Art Museum was opened in the immediate vicinity of Okayama Korakuen Garden in 1984 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of his birth. It houses roughly 3,000 of his works and documents in total and about 100 of them are permanently exhibited.

Getting here: 10 min. by Okayama Korakuen Bus or Korakuen Non-stop Bus from Platform No. 1 of Okayama Station East Gate Bus Terminal to Okayama Korakuen Garden / 30 min. on foot from Okayama Station

Rental bicycles available at Ekirin-kun close to Hotel Granvia Okayama located near Okayama Station East Gate.

Click here to jump to the sightseeing map of downtown Okayama

Closed: Monday (the following day if it is a national holiday), December 28 to January 1

Admission: 800 yen for adults / 400 yen for college students & high school and junior high school students / 300 yen for elementary school students

Combined tickets with Okayama Castle and Okayama Korakuen Garden available.

Group discount available for a group of 20 or more people.

  • Okayama Prefectural Museum in Spring
  • Okayama Prefectural Museum in summer

Find out Ancient Japanese Local Culture. - Okayama Prefectural Museum -

Just across from Okayama Korakuen Garden stands Okayama Prefectural Museum, which serves as the center for the study of extremely prosperous Ancient Kibi Province and preserves substantial precious Cultural Properties.

It opened in 1971, and collects and preserves cultural heritages from the primitive period to recent times, handing them down for posterity and displaying major cultural heritages.

The neighborhood has other several interesting museums, including Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art.

Getting here: 10 min. by Okayama Korakuen Bus or Korakuen Non-stop Bus from Platform No. 1 of Okayama Station East Gate Bus Terminal to Okayama Korakuen Garden / 25 min. on foot from Okayama Station

Rental bicycles available at Ekirin-kun close to Hotel Granvia Okayama located near Okayama Station East Gate.

Closed: Monday (the following day if it is a national holiday), December 28 to January 4

Admission: 250 yen for adults / 120 yen for senior (65 & over) / Free for high school students & younger and international students at university, college or the like in Okayama Prefecture; Additional fees required for special exhibitions. Free on New Year's Day, March 2 (Garden Opening Commemoration Day of Okayama Korakuen Garden), May 18 (International Museum Day) & November 1 (Okayama Education Day)

Group discount available for a group of 30 or more people.

Free Wi-Fi service available in lobbies.

  • Korakuza
  • Performance in Korakuza
  • Yuba Hot Spring Kenkomura
  • Momotaro Hotel

Classical Dramas in Small Theaters - Taishu Engeki -

"Taishu Engeki" is a Japan-specific genre of theatrical plays having the same origin as Kabuki and developed and spread as small scale plays among the public. It is performed in small theaters, hotel banquet rooms, and health and amusement facilities all over Japan. The fees are affordable compared with Kabuki and other commercial theatrical performances. According to "0481.jp", its official site, there are over 130 theatrical companies traveling around the nation, and most of them are family-run with the heads in their 20s or 30s. The shows consist of two major parts, a classical drama part such as a human-interest drama or a swordfighting drama in modern Japanese, with a simple plot, and dancing and music part.

Located 12 minutes walk from Okayama Station, "Korakuza" is one of 42 theaters specialized for Taishu Engeki in Japan. The three-hour performance is held twice a day, in the daytime and the evening. The hall decorated internally with Japanese-style lanterns seats two hundreds. Taishu Engeki plays are also performed at Yuba Hot Spring Kenkomura and Momotaro Hotel in Okayama City, and Seto Ohashi Bridge Hot Spring Yamakou in Kurashiki City. The three facilities provide free shuttle bus services from Okayama Station.

Sightseeing Map of Downtown Okayama