Korakuen (ãy, Kōrakuen) is a beautiful landscape garden and Okayama's main attraction. Along with Kanazawa's Kenrokuen and Mito's Kairakuen, Korakuen is ranked as one of Japan's three best landscape gardens. It is located just beside Okayama Castle, which can be seen from the garden as "borrowed scenery".
The local feudal lord ordered the construction of Korakuen in 1687 as a place of entertainment for the ruling family and a location for receiving important guests. Occasionally, the public was permitted to enter the garden.
In 1884, a few years after the end of the feudal era, Korakuen became the property of Okayama Prefecture and was opened to the public. The garden suffered damage from floods in 1934 and bombing during the war, but it has always been restored to its original state thanks to the accurate records kept by the garden's designers.
Korakuen is a spacious garden that incorporates the typical features of a Japanese landscape garden, including a large pond, streams, walking paths and a hill that serves as a lookout point. Rather unique for a Japanese garden, however, are Korakuen's spacious lawns. Also found in the garden are groves of plum, cherry and maple trees, tea and rice fields, an archery range and a crane aviary.