Imagine this… it’s your very first trip to Japan. You went on a whim and don’t really know that much about the country. After a few days in Osaka, a huge city, you travel to Okayama, a smaller city with a castle (and one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan).
Okayama Castle is surrounded by water as a natural fortification. It’s early April cherry blossom trees stand in front of the castle.
This was the first Japanese castle I ever visited, and it started a bit of a love affair…
Okayama Castle 「岡山城 Okayama-jō」
This photo was taken in the late afternoon, while walking on the river bank opposite Okayama Castle.
Okayama-jō sits on the Asahi River. Across the river is Korakuen (which has some great summer night viewing events).
My friends and I spent a relaxing afternoon strolling around the castle and the river. Unfortunately it was too late to visit Korakuen, with it’s traditional Japanese landscaped gardens, tea houses and ponds – but I would return here a few years later.
Okayama is about halfway between Osaka/Kyoto and Hiroshima. The bullet train stops at JR Okayama Station. It’s a great place to stop, even if only for an afternoon visit to the castle, which is very close to the city center and train station.