For Something More Relaxing

  • There is a place which has
  • a long history of around 1,800 years,
  • a mild climate all year around,
  • and few natural disasters.
  • Let's Stroll around Okayama, Japan!
Map of Japan
  1. Top
  2. Outline
  • Aug. 1 to 31; Genso-Teien: Summer Garden Illumination in Okayama Korakuen Garden
  • Sep. 28 to Nov. 4; Autumn season of Setouchi Triennale 2019
  • Oct. 12 to Oct. 14; Okayama Momotaro Festival in Autumn
  • Oct. 19 & Oct. 20; Bizen Pottery Festival

Okayama on Map of Japan

    Getting to Okayama

  • - By Shinkansen (Superexpress Nozomi) -

    Shinkansen From Tokyo Station: approx. 3 hr. 15min.
    From Shin-Osaka Station: approx. 45 min.
    From Hiroshima Station: approx. 35 min.
    "Japan Rail Pass" available for tourists making a short stay in Japan. For more information, visit "JAPAN RAIL PASS."
    Hello Kitty Shinkansen decorated with images of Hello Kitty runs almost every day between Shin-Osaka and Hakata on the Sanyo Shinkansen line. It makes one round trip a day.
    Free Wi-Fi service available at several places in Okayama Station, such as the Shinkansen gate and waiting rooms, and the concourse for the conventional lines on the second floor. For more information, visit "West Japan Railway Company".

  • - By Expressway Bus -

    bus From Shinjuku Station in Tokyo : approx. 10 hr. 15 min.
    From Kansai International Airport in Osaka : approx. 3 hr. 35 min.
    From Hiroshima Station : approx. 2 hr. 35 min.
    Ryobi Bus operates expressway bus routes from Okayama to Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and some other cities in Western Japan.
    For more information, visit "Ryobi Bus".

  • - By Air -

    airplane From Tokyo (Haneda Airport) : approx. 1 hr. 15 min.
    ( approx. 30 min. from Okayama Momotaro Airport to Okayama Sta. by shuttle bus )
    ( approx. 35 min. from Okayama Momotaro Airport to Kurashiki Sta. by shuttle bus )
    Free Wi-Fi service available at Okayama Momotaro Airport. For more information, visit "Okayama Momotaro Airport".

What's Going on This Week ( August 19 to 25, 2019 ) ?

Yakage Kouta Dancing

On the evening of August 24, Yakage Kouta Dancing is performed by 60 local women dressed in a uniform summer kimono and a hat made of braided straw in Yakage Shopping Street decorated with 150 of Japanese traditional suspending lanterns. Yakage Kouta was sang in Yakage Town until around 65 years ago. Yakage Kouta was restored and choreographed for the event which started as one of summer features in Yakage Town in 2014. The area is a historical post town which flourished from the 18 century to the 19th century

August 25 falls on the last day of the summer season of Setouchi Triennale 2019. It is an international art festival held on some islands in the Seto Inland Sea and ports, Takamatsu Port and Uno Port, every three years, with the theme of the Restoration of the Sea and aims at the revitalization of the island communities that was thriving in its beautiful natural environment and the transformation of the area into a Sea of Hope.

Seasonal Words, "Haunted House"

Haunted House

Many people in Japan flock to haunted houses in summer. They participate in the event with a storyline and a mission as one of the characters. For example, at one haunted house, a doll which looked like a baby was handed at the entrance and participants had to deliver the baby to the mother waiting at the exit while guarding it from demons lurking in darkness. Stories stimulate their imagination.

Why are haunted houses so popular in summer? Summer is the season when Japanese people welcome the souls of the dead since long ago. It was said that ghosts that held a grudge also came back to the world of the living. In the Edo Period, a lot of plays to repose the departed souls were staged at kabuki theaters in summer. During the season, top grade actors took a vacation and young actors appeared on the stage instead of the popular actors. They played novel programs for attracting audiences. When people feel fear, noradrenalin raises body temperature to prepare for any distress. However, that makes the body feel cold because the temperature on the surface of their skin does not rise yet. In other words, blood runs to major organs like the heart and major muscles such as limb ones when people get scared. That worsens the flows of the blood to the tips of the arms and legs, and the surface of their skin. As a result, they feel chilly. In the Edo Period, it was common for town people to go to a kabuki theater in order to enjoy the cool in summer.

The history of haunted houses in Japan can go back to 1830, when the nation was unsettled owing to frequent famines, natural disasters, and other calamities. It is said that it originated with a hut which a doctor built in his private garden in a suburb of the city of Edo. However, it was demolished at the behest of the local governor three months later. In 1839, a temple in Edo put on various shows in the precincts. One of them is the model of today's haunted houses. A boom of haunted houses started in the 1910s. Haunted house exhibitions and temporary haunted attractions at shrines and temples entertained many people by stimulating the five senses through light, sound, odor and other factors. After World War II, a lot of department stores and amusement parks began to operate horror-themed events.

A typical traditional Japanese ghost has no legs and foot, wearing a plain white kimono with dishevelled hair. In most cases, a female ghost is the main character in a ghost story. A woman treated cruelly by a man becomes a vengeful spirit and curses him. She often appears near water such as a stream, mostly under a willow tree, and a well.

These days in Japan, most haunted house attractions are created by haunted house producers. Hirofumi Gomi, the leading producer, devised a new type of haunted house attractions having a story line and a mission more than a quarter of a century ago. A variety of haunted attractions, including haunted trains and buses, can be enjoyed as well.

At "Miroku no Sato" in southeastern Hiroshima Prefecture, four types of haunted house attractions are open from July 20 to September 1, 2019.

*Reference Sites:

Tabitan: Tourist and Leisure Facility Search Engine

Nomura Co., Ltd.

'Me ga Ten! Library: I was like, "What?" Library' broadcast by NTV

OfficeBurn

goo News

Kokugakuin University

Miroku no Sato

Past Seasonal Words

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  1. Lounge about Japanese Gardens & Paths to Celebrate Cherry Blossoms & Other Flowers in Spring!
  2. Enjoy Traditional Dancing Festivals & Beautiful Fireworks, Wearing Summer Kimono in Summer!
  3. Feel Traditional Culture through Holly Shinto Festivals with a Long History in Autumn!
  4. Enjoy Traditional New Year's Events and Fresh Sake Made from Okayama's Sake Rice, Omachi, in Winter!

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Specialties

  • Okayama Tourist Information Office

    Okayama Tourist Information Office

    2F JR Okayama Station, 1-1 Ekimotomachi, Kita-ku, Okayama City

    (Close to the ticket gate of the Shinkansen, or the bullet train)

    9:00-18:00 Closed from Dec. 30 to Jan. 1

    Language: English

  • Momotaro Tourist Information Center

    Momotaro Tourist Information Center

    Basement No.6, Ichibangai, Ekimotomachi, Kita-ku, Okayama City

    (In underground shopping district of Okayama Station, close to Hotel Granvia Okayama)

    9:00-20:00 Open all year round

    Languages: English, Chinese and Korean

    Tel: +81 86-222-2912

  • Kurashiki Ekimae Tourist Information Office

    Kurashiki Ekimae Tourist Information Office

    2F Kurashiki City Plaza, 1-7-2, Achi, Kurashiki City

    (just ahead on the right side when viewed from the south gate side of Kurashiki Station)

    9:00-19:00 (Apr.-Sep.) 9:00-18:00 (Oct.-Mar.) Closed from Dec. 29 to 31

    Language: English

    Tel: +81 86-424-1220

  • Kurashiki Kan Tourist Information Office

    Kurashikikan Tourist Information Office

    1-4-8, Chuo, Kurashiki City

    (in Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter)

    9:00-18:00 Tentatively moved to Kurashiki Local History Museum during renovations from Jan. 15, 2018 to Aug. 31, 2019

    Language: English

    Tel: +81 86-422-0542

    Under refurbishment from January 15, 2018 until mid-February, 2020. Temporarily moved to the entrance gate of Kurashiki Local History Museum.

    A 90-minute regular tour of the area with an English speaking guide is offered, departing from the entrance of Kurashiki Local History Museum at 9:30. No reservation is required. A charged tour, whose fee for a private visitor is 100 yen, is also available. A reservation is required and can be made by fax, not accepted online. A fax form is available at "Kurashiki Welcome Tour Guides". For more information, visit the site.

  • Kurashiki Kan Tourist Information Office

    TAMANO Tourist Information Center

    1-1-1, Chikko, Tamano City

    (in Uno Station on JR Uno-port Line)

    9:00-18:00 Closed from Dec. 29 to Jan. 3

    Language: English, German, French and Chinese

    Tel: +81 863-21-3546

    Rental e-bikes and cross bikes available.