Okayama City is located in Okayama Prefecture, and a great place to base yourself if you are heading to Naoshima, the contemporary art island in the near future, or you want to discover the inland parts of Okayama Prefecture.
Okayama City central itself, can be explored in approx. 4 hours, with taking a retro tram to Korakuen Gardens, one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. Next to the Korakuen Gardens is the unique black Okayama Castle also known as the Crow Castle. The well preserved Izushichou area will let you see old style houses. After walking along the river at Nishikawa-Ryokudou Park and if you come in Spring the Cherry blossoms may be in blossom. Finish back at JR Okayama Station infront the the Momotaro Statue. While in Okayama, you can enjoy the local food such as DemiKatsu, Peaches, Grapes and even the popular Oysters.
The inland area of Okayama prefecture is one of those locations that you don't have enough time to discover everything. However, depending on your interests, there is much to offer. With you want to travel to Bizen to see one of the six top ceramics brands, or you may like to travel to Yugo or Yubara Onsen (Hot Springs) for relaxation in the baths. For the photographers, Bichu-Matsuyama Castle is a popular destination as it is the only mountain top castle that still has the original Fortress and it also becomes above the clouds between September and April. The old style protected houses at Joutoumachinami or even the Makido stalactites Cave for the impressive cave formations that have been formed over millions of years.
Kurashiki is only 25 minutes from Okayama by the local train, and if you are going to Okayama, you really need to also discover Kurashiki.More traditional that Okayama, Kurashiki will let you see how the yesteryear was lived.
Kurashiki is a beautifully preserved City, and the Bikan Chiku in particular is an area that has many old style storage houses lining the river. Lined with willow trees, the Bikan Chiku area makes you relax and walk slowly to your heart’s content. You forget time in Kurashiki, which is an important goal in any Overseas travel. Kurashiki is a historical merchant town and in feudal years, it thrived as a port for the shipping of rice. Several old rice granaries still remain here. Its olden time atmosphere and having a variety of museums and galleries, lure many visitors to Kurashiki. If you get time, you should also visit the Kojima area, for the best possible Jeans and denim items in Japan. Kojima jeans are a sort after item here in Japan also. Several art genre are also in Kurashiki, and maybe the glass blowing, along with local Sake production are some of the more popular. Of course the Canvas production which holds a large share domestically can not be overlooked. Gourmet is an important part in any trip also, and wether it is Octopus, local seafood, or Peaches, Strawberries, Kurashiki will play havoc on your taste buds.