A castle town with a beautiful garden and museum. A crossroads for traffic in the Sanyo region.
Okayama is situated in the southern part of Okayama Prefecture. It is the center of administration and business for the prefecture, a central city in the Sanyo region, and a crossroads for traffic between the San-in region and Shikoku. Okayama thrived as a castle town from the 16th to 19th centuries. Okayama Castle, the Koraku-en Garden (one of the three major gardens in Japan), and a number of art museums are found here.
Okayama Castle, built in the 16th century, has another name, Ujo, or Raven Castle, because its black painted exterior is associated with ravens. The castle tower has been rebuilt, but the Tsukimi-yagura turret and other structures are original. The Koraku-en Garden, which took 14 years to complete in the 17th century, was the first lawn garden in Japan. The garden is 133,000 square meters, and visitors can view Okayama Castle.