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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

DSC01703

Akazunomon

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).

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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.

IMG_0569

The sixth Floor

IMG_0577

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Reception area where one can try wearing a Kimono

Omiyage shop

Bizenyaki

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Old salt house located at the basement of the castle

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Resting Room

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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

DSC01796

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
http://www.okayama-kanko.net/ujo/english/index.html/(Eng)

 

The following two tabs change content below.

Sponsored Links

  • Pocket
  • 1 follow us in feedly

Related Article/s:

kanpai

The Nomikai – Bonding Through Drinking

A nomikai (飲み会) is a drinking party event particular to Japanese culture. It is a part of the culture of most places of employment. They are most often held in restaurants or izakaya (drinking place, bar), usually with everyone seated at one large table or occupying a separated section of the venue. The following two […]

Read Article

innoshima bridge

Cycling at Onomichi

Summer season is not as friendly as spring and fall in Japan. Despite the excruciating heat and humidity, I had one of the most unforgettable experiences last summer – cycling adventure at Hiroshima. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts witchy Latest posts by witchy (see all) Tobu World Square – Seeing the World […]

Read Article

hina dolls

Japanese Events and Celebrations According to Seasons

Japanese people love outdoor activities. During weekends or holidays, they will surely find ways to enjoy hanging out with their family or with friends. They usually go out for a picnic, barbecue party, camping and other sort of fun things to enjoy. Japanese also gather to celebrate the important events held within the country. The […]

Read Article

Go

Let’s Play “Go”! – How to Play the Board Game Go

The game Go is a quest to conquer territories. One of the two players uses black stones and the other white stones to mark out their respective territories. The player who has captured more territory at the end of the game is the winner. The following two tabs change content below.BioLatest Posts harorudo Latest posts […]

Read Article

Fushimi Inari_2

TOP 30 popular tourist destinations in Japan

“TripAdvisor”, a travel web site, has released their ranking of the “Top 30 most popular tourist destinations in Japan among foreigners in 2014″. It’s based on reviews written in languages other than Japanese between April 2013 and March 2014.(In Japan, business and school terms usually start from April.) Where do you think is the most […]

Read Article

japan flag

Kenkoku Kinen no Hi or National Foundation Day

The National Foundation Day (建国記念の日, Kenkoku Kinen no Hi) is a public holiday in Japan and is celebrated every year on 11th February. The day is celebrated to commemorate the formation of the nation and also for the establishment of the imperial line by the first Japanese ruler, Jimmu. Holiday History The day originally coincided […]

Read Article

089508

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

A couple enjoying the view at Ginshoji

Momijigari: Hunting for Autumn Colors

I have never been to any form of hunting trip till my friends and I head out to Kyoto this year to experience Momijigari which literally translates to maple leaf (momiji) hunting (gari). Just like Hanami (sakura viewing) in spring, Momijigari in autumn is well rooted in the Japanese culture and recently has also gained […]

Read Article

shichigosan

Shichi-Go-San – Celebrating A Long and Prosperous Life Ahead

Last Saturday, November 15, was Shichi-Go-San in Japan. It is a traditional festival celebrating the growth and well-being of young children particularly girls of seven years old, five-year-old boys, and children of three years old, hence the name of the day, Shichi-go-san (七五三 literally means 7-5-3). Because it is not a national holiday, it is […]

Read Article

Swordsmith in Osafune

Osafune in Okayama: The land of Japanese sword – Part 1 –

Bizen country, its main area was southern part of the present Okayama prefecture, was very famous for swordsmithing. It’s also famous for pottery called “Bizen-yaki”, but in this post, I’m going to focus on swordsmithing only.   Swordsmiths in Bizen There were a great number of swordsmiths in Bizen. According to several websites, it seems […]

Read Article

Sponsored Links

Leave a Reply

Sponsored Links

  • Google+
    InstagramInstagram
PAGE TOP ↑