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OKAYAMA Prefecture

Area: 7,112 km2
Population: 1,930 million
Region: Chūgoku
Capital: Okayama

photo by mstk east

Okayama Prefecture is located almost in the center of the Chugoku and Shikoku regions. It borders Hyōgo Prefecture, Tottori Prefecture, and Hiroshima Prefecture. The prefectural capital is the city of Okayama.

Located in the southern part of Okayama Prefecture, Okayama city is a major transit hub for western Japan.
Okayama’s most famous attraction is Korakuen Garden, which is ranked as one of the three best landscape gardens in Japan. The garden still keeps its form from the Edo era, with waterfalls, tiny shrines, teahouses, miniature maple forests, a lotus pond, and even a greenhouse filled with orchids and cacti.
Okayama Castle, also known as Crow Castle is located just across the garden. The castle got its name because of its striking black color which is rare among Japanese castles.

The city is famous as the setting of the Japanese popular fairy tale of Momotaro, the “peach Boy”. The main street of the city was named Momotarō-Odōri in the Peach Boy's honor, so visitors will encounter various statues from the tale spread along the way.
Okayama prefecture is blessed with beautiful nature , a sea, rivers and mountains and its mild climate offers many sunny days.
The northern part of Okayama Prefecture is blessed with an abundance of mountains and hot springs. In the southern part, the calm Seto Inland Sea, filled with island-studded beauty, stretches out, while three rivers, Yoshii River, Asahi River and Takahashi River provide a high quality and quantity of water.

Okayama Prefecture is also home to the historic town of Kurashiki. Kurashiki has a preserved canal area which also dates back to the Edo period. Many of the former storehouses here have been converted into museums, boutiques and cafes. Established in 1930 the Ohara Museum of Art, contains paintings by El Greco, Monet, Matisse, Gauguin, and Renoir. Among the museum’s collections there are also fine examples of Asian and contemporary art.

Bitchu-Takahashi is a well preserved town, former home to old samurai residences and merchant houses. Takahashi’s main attractions are Matsuyama Castle, the oldest surviving castle in Japan and Raikyuji Temple, with its beautiful ZEN garden.
By plane
Okayama Airport has arrivals from Tokyo, Sapporo, and Okinawa. There are also direct international flights between Okayama, Seoul and Shanghai.
Buses make a 40-minute run to JR Okayama Station.

By train
Nozomi trains depart Tokyo at 20 minute intervals, reaching Okayama in about 3.5 hours.
One Hikari per hour makes the trip in 4 hours and 15 minutes. Hikari Rail Star and Sakura trains also make frequent runs, stopping at Okayama between Osaka, Fukuoka and Kagoshima.

Local trains also run northward several times daily to Yonago, Tottori, Matsue, and Izumo. This scenic trip across the mountain range takes about two hours.

By bus
Chugoku JR Bus operates an overnight bus service, the Kibi Dream from Tokyo Station and the Yokohama City Air Terminal to Okayama. The travel time is approximately ten hours from Tokyo and nine hours from Yokohama
Daytime buses operated by Ryobi Bus run hourly from Osaka Namba (3 hours), and five times daily from Kyoto (3.5 hours).
Okayama has a warm humid temperate climate with hot summers and no dry season.
The warm season lasts from end of June to mid September with an average daily high temperature above 26°C. The hottest month of the year is August, with an average high of 30°C and low of 23°C.
The cold season lasts from beginning of December to mid March, with an average daily high temperature below 12°C. The coldest month of the year is January, with an average low of -1°C and high of 7°C.
It is relatively likely for snow to fall spans from mid December to the end of March.
During summer, you should be fine if you wear a short-sleeved shirt, t-shirt or a dress, however a long sleeved shirt is highly recommended if you choose to go near water or to the mountains.
In the winter, be sure to bring warm clothes such as winter coat or jacket, hat, scarf and gloves.
For the spring and autumn a light jacket or a sweater should keep you warm.
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