(October/20/2018)Welcome to Okayama Japan, the Land of Sunshine!!

Joto Historical Preservation District

Tsuyama City

Take a leisurely stroll through a castle town that time forgot

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Having prospered throughout the 17th to 19th centuries as a merchant city, this old townscape features 1.2 km of machiya (traditional townhouses). The district has earned recognition as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings. At “Joto Mukashi Machiya,” showing the former residence of a large merchant, visitors can feel the stylistic beauty of another lifetime. The tatami room is open to visitors for a sampling of Japanese culture and the chance to leave a commemorative photo. The town’s cafes also offer a chance to rest while walking through the town.

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Basic information

Address
Tsuyama City, Okayama Prefecture
Access
20 min on foot from JR Tsuyama Sta., or 10 min by bus to “Tenjinbashi” and then 5 min on foot
Business Hours
Varies by facility.
Tel.
0868-32-2096

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(October/16/2018)Welcome to Okayama Japan, the Land of Sunshine!!

Yubara Onsen

Maniwa City

Experience an outdoor bath in the heart of nature

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Yubara Onsen, located in a famous hot-springs area, includes one of Western Japan’s leading rotenburo (outdoor baths), “Sunayu.” Against the backdrop of a dam, Sunayu is 24-hr outdoor hot-spring bath surrounded by rocks located in the riverbed of the Asahi River. Because this bath serves both men and women, it is recommended that women wear a special dress while bathing (rentals available for a fee). With numerous accommodations, restaurants, and souvenir shops nearby, including many ryokan and hotels that offer free lending of iroyukata, colorful yukata popular with women, visitors are encouraged to plan for an overnight stay and enjoy walking through the town.

Basic information

Address
143-2, Yubara Onsen, Maniwa City, Okayama Prefecture
Access
2 hrs 35 min by bus from JR Okayama Sta. to “Yubara Onsen” with a bus change at “Katsuyama Bus Center,” and then 5 min on foot
Business Hours
Varies by facility.
Tel.
0867-62-2526

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(10/11/2018)Welcome to Okayama Japan, the Land of Sunshine!!

Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter

Kurashiki City

Streets lined with white-walled kominka (traditional houses) awarded 2 stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japan

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This townscape, known for the characteristically Japanese white walls of its residences and the willow trees lining the banks of the Kurashiki River, has earned recognition as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings. Kurashiki prospered in the 1600s as an integral destination for the transportation of goods, and the area continues to offer a historically attractive atmosphere of a calm and harmonious life.
With its many cultural facilities—including the Ohara Museum of Art and its collection of international masterpieces; the red-bricked Kurashiki Ivy Square, a reproduction of the textile factory once representative of Kurashiki, built on the site of the former factory; the Kurashiki Museum of Folkcraft, boasting a collection with some 700 handicrafts; and the Kurashiki Archeological Museum—Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter offers visitors a taste of Western influence harmonized with Japanese style.
A large portion of the Honmachi and Higashimachi areas, including the approach coming from the historic Achi-jinja Shrine, offers scenery unspoiled by time and has been specified as a Historical Preservation District. The town is a quiet place lined harmoniously with restaurants, galleries, and general stores.
A particularly popular destination for tourists is the “Traditional Boat Tour of Kurashiki Canal.” This boat tour offers visitors a chance to admire the town’s white walls from a small boat along the Kurashiki River that flows through the center of town. Visitors are also recommended to experience Japanese culture firsthand by donning a kimono or a yukata before strolling through Kurashiki’s historic streets. The Bikan Historical Quarter also offers washoku (Japanese cuisine) restaurants and local confection shops where visitors can enjoy a more literal taste of Japanese tradition.
As night falls and the streets light up, a calmer presence sets in for a somewhat different experience than the daytime. Many of the old machiya (traditional townhouse) have also been rebuilt with modern appeal as lodges and guest houses, giving visitors the option to spend the night in the Bikan Historical Quarter and explore the streets at their own pace.

Basic information

Address
Honmachi, Chuo, Higashimachi, Achi, Tsurugata, etc., , Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture
Access
15 min on foot from JR Kurashiki Sta.
Business Hours
Varies by facility.
Closed
Varies by facility.
Admission
Varies by facility.
Tel.
086-422-0542

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(09/18/2018)Welcome to Okayama Japan, the Land of Sunshine!!

Bizen Pottery Festival

                              Bizen City

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This event is held where certified Japan Heritage Bizen Pottery is produced. Visitors are offered Bizen pottery created by local artists at a 20% discount, and the chance to try their hand at making pottery using a potter’s wheel.

With a history that stretches back one millennium, Bizen pottery is one of the most famous types of pottery in Japan. Taking advantage of the inherent warmth of the soil, Bizen pottery is free of ornate coloring or painting, and is fired in climbing kilns.
The Bizen pottery festival is held on Saturday, October 20 and Sunday, October 21. Festival goers love the wide variety of Bizen pottery available at bargain prices.

Basic information

Date
The 3rd weekend of the month
Hours
Saturday: 9:00am – 5:30pm
Sunday: 9:00am – 4:30pm
Address
Imbe (Bizen Pottery Village)

Contact address

0869-64-1832

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(09/14/2018)Welcome to Okayama Japan, the Land of Sunshine!!

Ushimado

                             Setouchi City

Enjoy Japan’s Aegean-like sea and islands

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The seaside resort town of Ushimado overlooks the numerous beautiful islands dotting the Setonaikai (The Inland Sea). Visitors are treated to a magnificent landscape filled with the blue of the sea and the green of olive groves. At low tide, the Kuroshima Venus Road, a sandbar stretching to link three separate islands including Kuroshima Island, rises from the sea. A walk along this mysterious road floating on the sea is a recommended spot for couples. Along with the hotels and yacht harbors in the surrounding area, Ushimado also offers visitors sunset cruises where visitors can watch the sun set and enjoy a romantic evening on the town.

Basic information

Address
Ushimado Town, Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture
Access
35 min by bus from JR Oku Sta. to “Ushimado”
Business Hours
Varies by facility.
Tel.
0869-34-9500

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(09/10/2018)Welcome to Okayama Japan, the Land of Sunshine!!

Bitchu Matsuyama Castle

                                          Takahashi City

The “Castle in the Sky” floating on a sea of clouds

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Built in 1240, Bitchu Matsuyama Castle is both an Important Cultural Property of Japan and is counted among Japan’s top 100 castles. The castle is located atop a mountain at an altitude of 430 m, making it the highest fortress with an existing castle tower in Japan. Visitors to the castle are treated to a spectacular sight, especially in the early mornings of fall and winter when the clouds spread out to form a “sea of clouds” around the castle. Also in fall, when the trees change color, the landscape becomes painted in a deep vermilion as if the castle walls were aflame, offering visitors a truly majestic sight.

Basic information

Address
1, Uchisange, Takahashi City, Okayama Prefecture
Access
15 min by tourist share taxi from JR Bitchu-Takahashi Sta. to “Fuigo Toge,” and then 20 min on foot *Reservation required for the share taxi.
Business Hours
9:00am – 5:30pm (April – September) / 9:00am – 4:30pm (October – March)
Closed
December 29 – January 3
Admission
General 300 yen; students 150 yen (elementary and junior high)
Tel.
0866-22-1487

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