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Okayama... too many things to do! 2011/2/18 22:23
Hello, in april i will be in Japan for the thrid time, so i would like to enclose to my itinerary some sites that i never visited. Okayama is one of this, but reading some travel guides and this forum, i found that there are some interesting places in the nearby. I have just one day to dedicate to Okayama, so what's better? Visiting Korakuen + Kurashiki? Korakuen + Kibiji district (i like cycling)? Korakuen + Naoshima? Skip Korakuen (i'm interested in gardens, but i will visit also Kanazawa and Kenrokuen)?
Naoshima seems interesting for the contaminations between nature and art; but i'm also interested in rural Japan, then Kurashiki or Kibiji can be good choiches...
Someone can advise me? Thank you!!!
by kiruccia (guest)  

Re: Okayama... too many things to do! 2011/11/24 10:23
If you like gardens, I would not skip Korakuen. It's so beautiful and scenic! Korakuen is distinguished from many other Japanese gardens for its openness, so it is still unique and interesting even after a visit to Kenrokuen.

The most common itinerary is the Korakuen + Kurashiki trip. Kurashiki has a nice historic district and many shops and museums to keep you busy and aside from Korakuen, Okayama also has nice museums, Okayama Castle, and other places to visit. It's definitely a worthwhile trip and should be a very stressfree day, because everything is very easy to see.

With that said, although I really like Kurashiki, I personally much prefer the Kibi area over Kurashiki and if you like biking and the rural atmosphere, I have a feeling you will also love it. I'd suggest visiting Korakuen in the morning in order to make sure you have enough time to see it all and then spending the rest of your day exploring the sites along the Kibi Plains. The shrines and temples there are very historic and architecturally interesting, as well. The path itself is also scenic, as it travels through rice paddies and very rural parts of the city.

I have not personally visited Naoshima however, traveling to the islands in the Seto Inland Sea can take time, so I probably would not recommend trying to see the garden along with the islands. I would just plan for the island to be its own trip and if you happen to be lucky enough to get back early, then maybe going to Korakuen or Kurashiki afterwards.

(Note: I realize this thread is old, but I am posting a response because it shows up as a related question on the Okayama page, so I thought it should have an answer in case someone clicks it.)
by Rabbityama rate this post as useful

Re: Okayama... too many things to do! 2011/11/24 11:35
Thanks for that information it is very helpful. Would you think the Kibi plain cycle (the 10-15km between train stations)is worth doing in April. I am just wondering as I have seen beautiful rural photos with all the lush rice paddies but presumably so early in the season it will be quite bare? The opportunity to cycle and the various shrines, temples and burial mounds along the way do sound interesting so I am hoping the season isn't too critical?
by pacifictonz rate this post as useful

Re: Okayama... too many things to do! 2011/11/24 12:46
Would you think the Kibi plain cycle (the 10-15km between train stations)is worth doing in April.

In early April, I imagine cherry trees to provide wonderful clusters of color, although a lot of the other vegetation will still be somewhat barren. But by late April, the rest of the vegetation will be lush. I think the rice planting season is also around late April, but I am not sure. maybe not until May? Water filled rice paddies would also make for a nice sight.
by Uji rate this post as useful

Re: Okayama... too many things to do! 2011/11/24 13:55
I visited in January, which is probably one of the worst months for viewing any plant/natural spots however, I still found the views around the plains to be very beautiful, even among all the dead and dried out plants. I'm sure getting to see paddy planting or harvesting would enhance the experience but not seeing it did not detract.

As far as the shrines and sites along the trail, I don't think season is very important at these places. I'm sure there are flowering plants around the area, especially around Bitchu Kokubunji Temple however, to me the golden color of the dead plants was scenic in its own way and once again, I feel that although flowers may enhance the experience, not seeing them did not take away from the beauty of any of the sites. The history, architecture, and legends of the sites are with them in every season!

As Uji said, if you go early in April, things may still be dead as plants are just starting to come alive again, but later in the month should see most of the area quite green and alive.
by Rabbityama rate this post as useful

Re: Okayama... too many things to do! 2011/11/25 12:12
Thank you both, I'm really looking forward to it.
by pacifictonz rate this post as useful

Re: Okayama... too many things to do! 2011/11/26 02:40
Thanks to all! Due to the earthquake, finally i changed a little my plans for the travel... I've been in Japan in may (instead of april), and i spent in Okayama just one day, so i decided to visit just Korakuen+castle, and Kurashiki.
Kurashiki is a very nice place.
The day before going to Okayama i have ridden by bicycle the Shimanami Kaido, so i was tired, but the next time i will ride through the Kibi plan.
by kiruccia rate this post as useful

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