Okayama Korakuen Garden
One of Japan’s three most celebrated gardens, awarded 3 stars in the Michelin Green Guide Japan
This quintessential Japanese garden was created roughly 300 years ago by the area’s daimyo (domain lord). A symbol of the power of the samurai, Okayama Korakuen Garden is considered one of the three great gardens of Japan alongside Kanazawa City’s Kenroku-en and Mito City’s Kairakuen.
Centered around Enyo-tei House, which was built as living quarters, the garden covers some 13 ha and includes a Noh Stage as well as ponds, hills, plum groves, and a tea plantation. The garden is arranged with wide lawns for an open-mindedness that is not usually found in Japanese gardens. This circuit-style garden is devised so that visitors can enjoy the passing scenery while strolling atop through the garden, particularly atop Yuishinzan Hilll overlooking the garden and, as well as along the nearby waterways.
Looking out over the scenic park from Enyo-tei House near the main gate, visitors are treated to a spectacular backdrop that features Okayama Castle and the surrounding mountains just outside the park grounds. At the heart of the park lies Ryuten Rest House, which features a stream running through it. Through the flow of the waterway—directed to pass through underneath the building—visitors are able to enjoy the movement of the water flowing through the area. Taking refuge from the summer in the coolness, the former daimyo cherished spending time here staring peacefully and quietly at the water flowing by.
Japanese cranes are also bred in the park. Other attractions include the plum grove with 100 trees and seasonal flowers including spring cherry blossoms, azaleas, irises, and lotuses. The foliage in autumn also offers a beautiful sight.
During the popular “Special Late-Night Garden of Dreams” event held for a limited time in summer and autumn, the garden is opened at night and visitors can experience the garden illuminated by candles and the like. The fantastic nightscape offers an enjoyably different view than the daytime.
Shikisai, a washoku (Japanese cuisine) restaurant, is available in the park and offers cuisine made from seasonal ingredients locally grown in Okayama, and the teahouse offers visitors a chance to experience matcha (Japanese green tea). English, Korean, and Chinese guide services are also available (for a fee).
Address; Okayama Prefecture Okayama City Korakuen