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
  • Oct. 23, 2020 to Mar. 31, 2021; Main Gallery of Bizen Osafune Sword Museum Closed for renovation
  • Dec. 23, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021; Illuminated five-storey pagoda of Bitsu Kokubunji Temple
  • Dec. 28, 2020 to March 31, 2023; Denchu Art Museum temporarily closed due to renovation works
  • Feb. 20, 2021; Saidaiji Eyo Festival to be held only by authorized staff without spectators

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 ( January 18 to 24, 2021 ) ?

The five-story pagoda at Bitchu Kokubunji Temple

The five-story pagoda at Bitchu Kokubunji Temple, an iconic feature of Soja City, is illuminated from December 23, 2020 through February 28, 2021. Soja City and Soja City Tourism Association stage the event in order to get locals and tourists to reconfirm the beauty of the pagoda and get more interested in it.

The six-story black keep of Okayama Castle is lit up blue to express appreciation and support for medical staff from January 9 through February 7 from dusk until midnight.

Coronavirus-related Information in Okayama Prefecture

Okayama Prefecture has 2,071 confirmed cases for the coronavirus in total, consisting of 1,011 cases in Okayama City, 581 cases in Kurashiki City, the rest in the others, and 16 death toll as of January 17. More than 260 new cases were confirmed during the last week ranging from January 11 to 17. There have been nearly 1,430 confirmed recoveries.

It seems people in many countries believe the effect of face masks is limited to prevent the infection. But Japanese people have reached consensus on the view that the face coverings are effective to block most of the virus. We believe that it is the main reason why the virus is less spread through Japan, compared with most European countries and the U.S. Unfortunately, it is not for political measures. Meanwhile, the COVID-19 surge is putting a strain on hospitals across the country in spite of the fact that Japan leads the world in the number of beds in the medical facilities now.

A Seasonal Word, "Marathon"

Marathon

The first Japanese Olympic athlete is a marathon runner, named Shiso Kanakuri, who participated in the fifth International Olympic Games held in Stockholm, Sweden in 1912. He could not finish the race due to sunstroke, but reached the finish line at a ceremony in commemoration of the 55th anniversary of the Stockholm Games in 1967.

In the Tokyo Olympic Games in 1964, a Japanese runner got the bronze medal. Another athlete received the silver medal in the next Olympic Games. After those, many Japanese runners began to play an active part in the marathon world. Women's marathon runners boosted their presence in the 1990s and the 2000s. In the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Naoko Takahashi won Japan's first ever track gold medal. Mizuki Noguchi got a gold medal in the Athens Olympic Games in 2004. Japanese marathon runners were supported by frontier research. However, the athletes have been engaged in a fierce struggle since the late 2000s by the emergence of marathon powerhouses such as Ethiopia and Kenya. High-speed races in recent years are attributed to those Afriacan runners.

The first Tokyo Marathon in 2007 triggered the nationwide citizen's marathon boom in Japan. Now more than 1,500 races per year are held in the country. There are applications exceeding the capacities at most of them. On the back of marathon booms in China and Taiwan, many runners from overseas countries joined the marathon events. Research says the number of runners and joggers habitually running more than once a week reaches over 5 million people in Japan.

In Okayama Prefecture, Okayama Marathon, which started in 2015, takes place at Okayama City in November. The course starts from the front of the Okayama Prefectural Multipurpose Grounds near Okayama Station, certified by the Japan Association of Athletics Federations. It also has a 4.5 km fun run course. Soja Kibiji Marathon and Tsuyama Kamogo Full Marathon have a few decades of history.

An Okayama-based long-established department store, Tenmaya, established a women's track-and-field club in 1992, when a women's marathon runner from Okayama Prefecture, Yuko Arimori, won the silver medal in the Sydney Olympics. The team has produced many Olympic athletes, including Honami Maeda chosen as one of the marathon runners who represent Japan at the Tokyo Olympics.

*Reference Sites:

Japan Association of Athletics Federations

Faculty of Health and Well-being, Kansai University

Sasakawa Sports Foundation

Okayama Marathon

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

    Momotaro Tourist Information Center

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

    (beside the ticket gate of the Shinkansen, or the bullet train)

    9:00-20:00 Open everyday

    Language: English, Chinese, Korean, French ( using telephone ), and Tai ( using telephone )

  • 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

    Language: English

    Tel: +81 86-422-0542

    A 90-minute regular tour of the area with an English speaking guide is offered, departing from the entrance 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 or email. 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

    (inside Uno Station on JR Uno-port Line)

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

    Languages: English, German, French and Chinese

    Tel: +81 863-21-3546

    Rental e-bikes and cross bikes available.