Quest For Japan Logo-Ver7

Okayama Castle: A unique blend of the old and the new

Okayama Castle they say is one of the must see places here in Okayama City, Japan. Well if you have been around cities here a number of them have their own castle. I believe there are about hundreds of them scattered all over Japan. But what then sets this castle apart from the rest of them?

A bit of history

So before I start let me tell you a short history of this castle. Don’t worry I will keep it short – I am no historian after all, I am just a tourist armed with an English Pamphlet handed out by the friendly receptionist at the castle’s reception area.


Castle Keep also known as donjon. The Okayama castle is six stories tall

The original castle was build in 1597 by a feudal lord named Ukita Naoie. The castle was burnt down during one of the air raids during World War II with only the Tsukimi-yagura Tower (moon viewing turret) in the castle complex left to have survived after the attacks. It was later rebuilt/restored in 1966. The castle is six stories high and due to its black exterior the castle has also earned the name “Crow Castle” (u-jo).

Foundation Stones

Foundation Stones of the Tenshukaku (donjon)

Tsukimi Yaguara - Turret for Moon Viewing

Tsukimi Yagura – Turret for Moon Viewing. Found at the North West Corner of the castle which was build in 1620 and the only surviving original structure in the castle complex.



Enough of the history

Arriving at the castle grounds, you will be impressed with the restoration. The castle’s exterior facade is really impressive. It is perched atop a hill next to the Asahi River with its black walls and gilded gold roof trimmings it is really beautiful.

Okayama Castle

Okayama Castle

Once inside the castle, you will be very surprised that the restoration done was kind of limited to its exterior only – I might be wrong on this. The castle’s interiors seems to have been left out in the restoration. It has been built with an elevator  and using re-enforced concrete. But none the less, I am sure there is so much a tourist could enjoy and learn once inside. The castle’s has been converted into a museum and based on the guides written there its best to start your tour from the top most floor. The elevator will take you up to the fourth floor then take the stairs to reach the sixth floor. The top two floors serves as observation deck where one you could enjoy the view of the adjacent Korakuen Garden located across the Asashi River as well as a view of the city of Okayama. And at the fifth floor you could get a closer look of the Golden dolphin (Kin No Shachihoko).


Golden dolphin (Kin No Shachihoko) – the roof of the castle used to be gilded in gold and was then also known as Golden Crow Castle

Korakoen Garden

A view of the Korakoen Garden from the six floor

While the fourth (Wonders of the castle) and third (The castle’s course of history) floor of the building served as the main museum.  The museum also has a viewing area where tourist could learn about the history of the castle. The second floor is still part of the museum but this time it is more interactive like you could dress like a lord or a princess by wearing the tradition Japanese Kimono for FREE. The first floor served as a souvenir shop. There is also a shop here where you could experience making Bizenyaki – form of pottery making. Then lastly the Basement which now serves as the reception area of the museum and also features the scroll depicting the wars in the old times.

Here are some of the pictures taken in the museum.


The sixth Floor


The fourth floor

Pine Tree

Reception at the Basement

Stairs leading to the sixth floor

Viewing area at the Basement

The Seven Stories Regarding U-jo

Daimyo’s palanquin – traditional Japanese transportation


Reception area where one can try wearing a Kimono

Omiyage shop



Old salt house located at the basement of the castle


The Resting Room


Inside the resting room – so don’t misunderstood the term resting ok?


Ladies Room near the reception area – the irony of having an updated version of the castle and yet still contain the traditional washiki toilets but don’t worry there is one western cubicle.


So how did I find the castle?

The castle was really a unique blend of the old and the new reflecting how Japan as a country together with its people has and is still very successful in keeping their heritage alive together with the fast evolving world.

For more information please visit the official web page of the Okayama Castle – don’t worry if you don’t have any Japanese language skills  there is an English page for us tourist with little or no Japanese language skills. And if your really interested to see how the interiors exactly looked before it was burnt I found this site. I also found this very nice virtual tour of the castles reception area.


■ Access Information ■
Admission hours: 8:00 to 17:30
(Last admission to castle is 17:00)
2-3-1 Marunouti, Kita-ku, Okayama City, Okayama
Tel: 086-225-2096


The following two tabs change content below.

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

Saya bridge in Kotohira

Due south: Kotohira City in Kagawa

Konpira in Kagawa (5) Konpira city centre Konpira is the main sightseeing spot in Kotohira City, but there are some others to see. So, it’s nice to look around if you’ve got a time.   [Saya-bashi (Saya bridge)] “Saya” means scabbard. It is said that this bridge was originally built in Genroku era, the early […]

Read Article


Port of Miyanoura: Visiting the West Coast of Naoshima

When you say Naoshima as a tourist one would automatically think of its most famous landmarks, the big red or yellow pumpkins you would find by its shore. But more than this two landmarks, it is home to a collection of world renowned contemporary art galleries and exhibits. I must admit I was not attracted to […]

Read Article


The Fukiya Village in Okayama, Japan-Part 3-

What to see in Fukiya surrounding area (2) Keep walking down the street from “Bengara-kan” or “Sasaune”, then you’ll reach at a large house. On weekends and holdays during on-season, you can take a cyclic bus to/from the village. 5 min. by car from each location. A quick note: Nearby, there is a shrine called […]

Read Article


New Year Holidays in Japan: Hatsuyume

As we mentioned in our hatsumoude post, everything you do in the first days of the New Year can mean something or will affect the whole year. Hatsu (初) or “first” of something are important according to Japanese culture: the first shrine visit, first dreams, and the first sunrise have impacts on how your year […]

Read Article


Mystery tour : Muramasa , a cursed blade – Part 1 –

Muramasa (1) Masamune and Muramasa “Masamune” and “Muramasa” are probably the two well-known Japanese sword brands to common Japanese people. You may have seen those names in Japanese manga, video games, novels, etc. For example, “Masamune” is used by Sephiroth in a Playstation game, Final Fantasy 7. Also, there is a game entitled as “Oboro-muramasa” […]

Read Article

Torii of the Konpira Shrine

Due south: Konpira Shrine in Kagawa – Part 1 –

First of all, Kagawa is a name of a prefecture in Japan and has nothing to do with a Japanese footballer Kagawa. Konpira in Kagawa Konpira-guu or Kotohira-guu is one of the well-known shrines in Japan. Often people affectionately call it as “Konpira-san”. The word “Konpira” came from the Sanskrit, “Kumbhira”. I couldn’t find any […]

Read Article


Gaijin Chronicles : Mikan and Japanese Gift Giving Etiquette

Early autumn of 2012, my friends and I went to Kuroisan Green Park in Setouchi-shi, Okayama for mikan harvesting.  Mikan, according to its Wikipedia entry, is a sweet,  seedless,  and easy-peeling citrus species about the size of mandarin oranges but smaller than an orange. For a fee of 700 yen, we were led to the orchard […]

Read Article


The “Gentle Way” of Judo – Judo Influences

As we continue to our last post about judo, we will learn modern notable judo practitioners and judo influences in other martial arts. Judo has been one of the primary martial arts displayed in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competitions since MMA’s inception. Several judo practitioners have made an impact in mixed martial arts. Notable judo […]

Read Article

Firefly watching - upclose

Japanese Seasonal Events: Firefly Watching 2

Firefly watching in Shirochi, Takahashi In Okayama prefecture, there are at least seven places listed on the website that I visited. I decided to pick one with easy access and free parking area. The viewing spot is located in Ochiai-cho, Shirochi, Takahashi-shi. In other viewing spots, artificially-reared fireflies are released to join other wild fireflies. While in […]

Read Article


Keirou no Hi or Respect for the Aged Day

Today is a special day for the elderly in Japan. Special in the sense that the government really made a holiday to celebrate and pay homage to them. People across the country travel to their hometown to visit their parents and relatives. But what exactly is “Respect for the Aged Day”? The following two tabs […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+