Cities in Okayama

Okayama 岡山市
  • One of Japan's designated cities, Okayama is the biggest city in, and capital of, the prefecture. It's split into 4 wards.
  • All Shinkansen trains stop in Okayama, as part of the San'yo Shinkansen line. Additionally, you can travel to islands in the Seto Inland Sea and Shikoku, as well as the San'in prefectures (Shimane and Tottori) from Okayama with ease.
  • Korakuen (one of Japan's three most beautiful gardens) and Okayama Castle are an easy walk from the station and worth a visit.
  • Okayama is home of one of three Sega Joypolis shops - 2 floors of arcade games, coin games, purikura/sticky picture machines, and claw machines. Best to come after payday.

Kurashiki 倉敷市
  • Second major city in Okayama.
  • Kurashiki station is 15 minutes from Okayama station (Platform 1 and 2 trains go to Kurashiki).
  • It has a mall (Aeon Mall), accessible by bus from Kurashiki station.
  • The Bikan historical area is a famous and popular tourist spot and contains one of Japan's foremost galleries of European art.
  • From the north exit of Kurashiki station, you can shop in the new Ario mall, and the connected outlet mall.

Kasaoka 笠岡市
  • Catching a ferry from Kasaoka will bring you to Shiraishi island (白石島) a popular spot for foreigners in the summer months for its beach and the 'Moooo! Bar'. A small cow themed bar right on the sand, run by a foreigner couple serving up a variety of alcohol. Soak up the sun while drinking a "moogarita", enjoy a playful swim, or hike around the small island's terrain to complete a miniature version of the 88 temple pilgrimage of Shikoku. Moooo! Bar Website for more information about Shiraishi and how to get there.
  • Home to the world's only horseshoe crab museum.

Ibara 井原市
  • On the Ibara-line railroad, which you can transfer to at JR Kiyone station. Travel by train takes just over an hour from Okayama, and about 40 minutes from Fukuyama in Hiroshima-ken. Several buses a day make the trip between Kasaoka and Ibara, which is much more convenient and speedy than training between the two cities.
  • Home to the Ibara Municipal Denchu Art Museum, which houses a permanent collection of the works of the Meiji period sculptor Denchu Hirakushi, as well as hosting traveling exhibits that change several times a year.

Soja 総社市
  • The Kibi trail starts/finishes in Soja.
  • There's a fruit farm somewhere in Soja, accessible by car, that lets you pick your own fruit.

Takahashi 高梁市
  • There are many historical things to do in Takahashi, such as a merchant's museum, the highest castle (and one of the original 12) in Japan, the samurai houses, and an old village known for a red clay style of pottery.
  • One of the larger bon odori festival dances in Okayama in August.
  • The train station is called 'Bitchu Takahashi'
  • Home to the giant bucket/tub parfait.

Kibichūō-chō 吉備中央町
  • A rural town of roughly 14,000 people, Kibichuo is accessible via the Chutetsu bus from Okayama Train Station or a transfer from Takahashi Station.
  • Kibi Festival occurs at the end of August at Kibi Plaza, one of the main community areas.
  • There is a fresh Farmers Market style grocery store that sells fresh produce at low prices at Kayo Plaza.
  • Check out this link for lots of pictures and information about this largely unknown, rarely visited treasure of Okayama! Wikispaces Kibichūō-chō Page

Niimi 新見市
  • Located in north-eastern Okayama, Niimi is the the last major stop before Tottori prefecture. It also has trains running east to Tsuyama.
  • In Niimi, you can visit two different limestone caves, some of the longest in Japan!
  • There are little to no chain stores in Niimi, so you can enjoy smaller mom & pop restaurants.

Tsuyama 津山市
  • Kakuzan Park, the ruins of Tsuyama castle, hosts a cherry blossom festival and is one of the best cherry blossom views in Okayama, and perhaps the Chugoku region. With around 5000 sakura trees, and lanterns lit up at night, it is quite a beautiful sight.

Setouchi 瀬戸内市
  • City made of 3 smaller towns - Osafune, Oku and Ushimado. Each town employs one JET ALT.
  • It is fairly rural, but Oku and Osafune are both on the Ako line that goes to Okayama. Ushimado is accessible from Oku station by bus.
  • It is famous for Bizen-Osafune's sword museum.

Mimasaka 美作市
  • 16th century Miyamoto village, considered the birth place of Miyamoto Musashi, is a part of Mimasaka and there are a number of related sights, such as the Musashi Budokan and the Musashi-no-Sato village.
  • Okayama International Circuit hosts a number of racing events, from formula 1 to super bikes.

Wake 和気郡
  • Wake is famous to foreigners for Pizza King, which was established by its Iranian owner. They make a variety of pizzas, cooked in a wood-fired oven.
  • In the spring, there is a grove of wisteria trees in Wake that people come to see.

Bizen 備前市
  • Home of the 'Bizen-yaki' pottery style. Imbe (伊部 いんべ), on the Ako line, is the main town within Bizen for everything Bizen-yaki, including a museum, stores, and places to make your own 'Bizen-yaki'. There is also the yearly Bizen-yaki festival in October.
  • Shizutani school (閑谷学校), a national treasure of Japan and the first school for common people in Japan.
  • The coastal waters of Bizen are lined with oyster farms. During oyster harvesting seasons (winter months) the town of Hinase serves its 'famous' oyster okonomiyaki, and hosts an oyster festival.