Okayama (岡山) is a large city in Chugoku, known across the country for it’s Korakuen Garden, a superb example of Japanese gardening. It’s not just a transportation hub to Chugoku and Shikoku, and can take up a good day.

Budget travel tips

  • As Okayama is an major commercial and transportation hub, it’s a cheap place to stay to break up a journey or rest before travelling off somewhere.
  • Get a One-day Pass for the streetcar at the Tourist Information center in the train station or bus terminal (400 yen). It’s the easiest and cheapest way to get around the city. If you don’t mind walking, the garden and castle are only about 25 minutes walk from the station.
  • Pick up a combination ticket (if available) for the garden and castle for a slight discount.
  • Consider the JR San’in-Okayama Area Pass to explore the areas north of Okayama.
  • Consider a day trip to Kurashiki if you are staying in Okayama for a while or run out of things to do!

Things to do

Korakuen Garden (岡山後楽園)
One of the three most celebrated traditional Japanese gardens in the country. Completed in 1700, it has beautifully manicured lawns with hills and interwinding lanes, tea houses, plus Japanese ponds and lakes. Get of at Shiroshita and walk north, the over the river.
Open: 7:30-18:00 (March 20- Sept), 8:00-17:00 (Oct-March 19)
Cost: 400 yen

Okayama Castle (岡山城)
This six storied reconstructed black castle shows off many fascinating relics, but this is not the most visually stunning castle in Japan. A 3 min walk from the back of Korakuen Garden.
Open: 9:00-17:30 (closed Dec 28-31)
Cost: 300 yen

Okayama Orient Museum (岡山市立オリエント美術館)
Modeled after the Pantheon in Greece, this museum displays more than 3000 pieces of oriental art.
Open: 9:00-17:00 (Closed Monday or after national holidays and around new years)
Cost: 300 yen

How to get there

With a Japan Rail Pass or Chugoku pass
From any major city, such as Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka, take a Shinkansen.

Without a rail pass
Take a bus with Willer Bus or JR Bus, depending on your departure location.

Hostels and cheap hotels

Sauna and Capsule Hotel Hollywood 

Right outside the station, this cheap capsule hotel (men only) does the job. Clean, quiet and English signs to help those not familiar with capsule hotels or Japanese spas. Check prices at Booking.com.

Compare more at Booking.com


Published by Matthew Baxter

Japan travel writer and onsen addict