- 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!
- 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 for renovation works
- Feb. 20, 2021; Saidaiji Eyo Festival to be held only by authorized people without spectators
- Feb. 20, to Mar. 7; Kurashiki Hina-Meguri
- Mar. 1, to 4; Bizen Katakura Hina-Meguri
- May. 31, 2021 to autumn 2022; Okayama Castle temporarily closed for renovations
- Late March to Early April; Okayama Sakura Carnival canceled due to coronavirus
- By Shinkansen (Superexpress Nozomi) -
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 -
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 -
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".
Getting to Okayama
A Long History of Around 1,800 Years
In days gone by, "the Kibi no Nakayama mountains" located in the western part of Okayama City and spreading out like a carp swimming in water was so well-known that they were written in a poem in Kokin Wakashu, or "A Collection of Ancient and Modern Japanese Poetry", collected by Imperial command in the early 10th century. There are a lot of tumuli including large-scale keyhole-shaped ones here and there on the mountains.
In ancient times, the area mainly consisting of all of Okayama Prefecture and the eastern part of Hiroshima Prefecture was named Kibi Province and formed a huge cultural area as a strategic point for transportation between the Kinai Region composed of parts of Nara, Osaka and Kyoto prefectures, and Kyushu Region located near the Asian Continent.
Taking advantages of its warm and mild climate in addition to few natural disasters such as typhoons and volcanic eruptions, rice farming was developed in the area. Located on the northeastern edge of Kurashiki City, Tatetsuki Grave Mound, where the inside of a wooden coffin was blanketed with thirty kilograms of vermillion and an iron sword and a lot of gems were excavated, was constructed nearly 1,800 years ago. According to Okayama Prefectural Ancient Kibi Cultural Properties Center, it is considered that the person buried in the grave may be the paramount chief who unified a lot of tribes into Kibi Province. However, the numerous tumulus and remains in the area cannot specify the origin of Kibi Province now.
Judging from the fact that a lot of tumuli lie in Okayama Prefecture, the province had almost equal power to the Yamato line of emperors, to struggle for supremacy. And later it was divided by the central government into three, Bizen, Bitchu and Bingo: the nearest to Kyoto, the eastern part, is Bizen, and Bingo is the present eastern part of Hiroshima Prefecture as well as the present western part of Okayama Prefecture. And then Bizen was divided from north to south, Mimasaka and Bizen. Today, Bizen, Bitchu and Bingo are used as a prefix to names of places, stations and others like Bizen-Osafune and Bitchu-Takahashi Station.
Provincial cities and towns in Japan, such as those in Okayama Prefecture, are packed with Japanese traditions handed down for generations. Moreover, refined rusticity remain everywhere in the countrysides, such as Fukiya and islands in the Seto Inland Sea National Park, along with natural beauty even now.
A Mild Climate All Year Around
Okayama Prefecture except its northern part has a mild and comfortable climate all year around with little rainfall. It is sandwiched between Chugoku Mountains on the north side and Shikoku Mountains on the island of Shikoku beyond the Seto Inland Sea. These mountains protect this region from chilling winds and typhoons.
Setouchi region along the Seto Inland Sea has relatively little rainfall all year round. Okayama Prefecture is well known as "Hare no Kuni", or "the land of fair weather", due to its mild temperature and low rainfall. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the average annual temperature in Okayama City is 16.2 degrees Celsius while that in Tokyo is 15.4 degrees Celsius. The total number of days with precipitation less than 1 mm in Okayama City is 276.8 days , first among the main observation sites of 47 prefectures, while that in Tokyo is 263.6 days, The average annual rainfall in Okayama City is 1,105.9 mm, third lowest amount of rainfall, while that in Tokyo is 1,528.8 mm, based on the data from 1981 to 2010.
Okayama Prefecture is blessed with favorable conditions such as a good environment for taking a walk and cycling.
Few Natural Disasters
Okayama Prefecture has few natural disasters such as typhoons, volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis. Because Shikoku Mountains on the island of Shikoku beyond the Seto Inland Sea block typhoons coming mainly from July to October, Okayama Prefecture receives little damage from typhoons. Considering that there is no active volcano in and close to Okayama Prefecture, there would be no possibility of being hit by volcanic disasters. According to Okayama Local Meteorological Office, no earthquake with seismic intensity 6 or over on ten-step scale which indicates the degree of shaking between 0 and 7 at an observation point on the ground surface, on which it is difficult to remain standing, has been observed in Okayama Prefecture after the first monthly report on earthquakes in Japan was issued in 1926. There is very low possibility that a huge tsunami occurs because Okayama Prefecture lies on a calm inland sea. According to Okayama Prefecture, the highest tsunami waves triggered by an earthquake and reaching the coastline of Okayama Prefecture on record are 21 cm high, caused by the magnitude 9.5 Chile earthquake in 1960. Off the record, the coast was hit by tsunami less than one meter high caused by the earthquake of magnitude 8.0, which gave extensive damage to areas along the Pacific Ocean in western Japan, in 1946.>
In addition to the above natural disasters, no nuclear power plant is located in Okayama Prefecture. It can be considered that Okayama Prefecture is one of the safest prefectures in Japan.
What's Going on This Week ( March 1 to 7, 2021 ) ?
March 2 falls on Garden Opening Commemoration Day of Okayama Korakuen Garden located in downtown Okayama. It is the day when a commemorative ceremony was held to mark its handover from the Ikeda family of the former feudal lord to Okayama Prefecture in 1884. It was designated to mark the 300th anniversary of the garden in 2000. Plum trees in the garden are in full blossom. Plum blossoms mark the start of the spring season in Japan. Admission is free on that day.
In Japan, people traditionally celebrate girls' growth on March 3, with a set of traditional dolls, "Hina dolls," and miniature furniture displayed on a tiered stand. The festival is called Hina-Matsuri. The doll stands are to be set up and decorated around February 3, the first day of spring. Hina doll stands are showcased at Okayama Castle on March 2 and 3 and at Tsuyama Castle, , other tourist facilities and some shops for one month between March 3 and April 3.
Coronavirus-related Information in Okayama Prefecture
Okayama Prefecture has 2,484 confirmed cases for the coronavirus in total, consisting of 1,263 cases in Okayama City, 663 cases in Kurashiki City, the rest in the others, and 32 death toll as of February 28. Nearly 20 new cases were confirmed during the last week ranging from February 22 to 28. The number of confirmed new cases for the virus is on a downward trend. There have been 2,389 confirmed recoveries.
Okayama Prefecture released on Wednesday the number of tourists visiting 30 main tourist facilities in the prefecture during last January. It decreased sharply by 52.3 percent to 199,316 from a year earlier, whereas it dropped below 40 percent in November or December. It can be assumed that the drastic decline was caused by political measures that Tokyo and other major 8 prefectures were excluded from "the Go to Travel campaign," which the Japanese government has set up, to contain the third wave of the coronavirus.