Okayama Korakuen: From Structures to Creatures
If someone will ask me what to check out in Okayama, the first thing I would suggest would be to visit Okayama Korakuen. Aside from its easy access, its scenic spots will bring you relaxation and peace of mind away from a hectic life. The garden is surrounded by tall trees that being there would make you feel like you are far away from the city center even though you are just right in it.
As already mentioned in our previous post, “Koraku-en Garden by day, Fantasy Garden by night,” Okayama Korakuen is one of the “Three Great Gardens in Japan.” Not only that, it is also featured in Michelin Green Guide Japan guidebook and has been given three stars (top) rating.
The garden was called in different names. One of them is “Kouen,” means back garden, as it is located at the back of the Okayama Castle. But later on changed to “Korakuen” and to its present official name “Okayama Korakuen.”
Things to See Inside Okayama Korakuen
There are many things to check out inside the garden. Just look at these numbers:
- Four (4) rest houses
- Two (2) tea houses
- Six (6) shrines
- Three (3) halls
- One (1) pavilion
- One (1) guest house
- Three (3) hills
- Two (2) islands
- Three (3) ponds
- Groves, flower gardens, rice field, tea plantation and many more
Here’s a highlight of different spots you can find inside Okayama Korakuen. I’ll leave the rest for you to check out when you visit the place.
Renchi-ken Tea House
Odate-ishi (stone) and lotus plants
Cherry Blossom Trees
What to enjoy for every season
There are many events being held all-year-round in the garden. To name a few:
– cherry blossom viewing
– lotus flower viewing, fireworks & light-up, moon viewing
– autumn leaves viewing, Noh (a form of traditional Japanese theater) performances
– Koto (a traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument) concert, Japanese crane watching
You can find different kinds of trees and flowers that you can enjoy in different seasons. There are ume (Japanese plum) trees which blossom first before cherry blossom trees. Many people visit Okayama Korakuen during this season for picnic. Grounds nearby the trees, which are usually restricted, are opened, allowing visitors to lie down under the trees and relax.
During summer, a yearly fireworks event is being held nearby the perimeter. One of the good locations to watch it is from inside the garden as during this season that light-up event is also going on.
To get the full list of yearly events, check it here.
Animals in the garden
Not only traditional structures, ponds, or trees can be seen in Okayama Korakuen, but also animals.
“Tanchou” or Japanese crane
There’s a crane aviary where you can find “タンチョウ”, read as “tanchou”. It’s a red-crowned crane or Japanese crane. Most of the time, they are kept inside the aviary. But few months before year end, they are released and trained for New Year’s Day event.
As you walk around the garden, you might be surprised to hear a sound of a cow. You might think that it’s just your imagination. But then, you’ll hear it once again. I can assure you, there is no cow in the garden. The sound is actually made by an “ushi-gaeru”, an American bullfrog. A vast area of ponds and fields is such a desirable environment for this creature.
One thing I noticed in Japanese gardens and ponds is the existence of koi fishes, and Okayama Korakuen is not an exception of this. You’ll find a large number of them, in huge size and different color patterns. You can buy fish feeds from a nearby shop for 50 yen. You’ll be amazed when they gather together. The picture below only shows some of them.
To know more about the shops and other services in Okayama Korakuen, check the continuation of this post.
Here’s a time-lapse video of the garden.
Latest posts by ren (see all)
- Japanese Seasonal Food: Fresh Raw Whitebait Bowl - May 19, 2015
- Japanese Hot Pot Dishes - February 23, 2015
- Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, Tokyo – Exploring inside and out - February 4, 2015
Adachi Museum of Art General Information The entrance fee is quite expensive to compare with other museums. Almost the same (or higher) price as Vatican Museums. It’s 2300 yen (about 20 US dollars!) for an adult as of February 2015. I know it costs a lot to keep the garden (and art), but I still […]
Can you guess what this building is? I guess most people would guess that it’s a theme park being so closely located to Universal Studios Japan. Don’t worry you’re not the only one deceived by how it looks. Many tourist and locals alike in the city of Osaka mistake this building as a theme park […]
On my first visit to Tokyo we visited Tsukishima district famous for monjyayaki – it is so famous that there is a street filled with stores that serve this famous kanto specialty. So what exactly is monjyayaki or monjya as it is popularly known. Monjyayaki or simple monjya is a type of Japanese pancake made […]
Since grade school, I always like science museums. Learning outside the four corners of the classroom or beyond the books and wiki pages I read is fun and more exciting than sitting for hours. Interactivity is the key here. It is because I learn and remember more when I can use more than one of […]
In my first post I shared with you my experience when I visited Go’o Shrine and Kadoya. Now I will tell you about the other 4 houses – Gokaisho, Haisha, Ishibashi and Minamidera. Gokaisho designed by Yoshihiro Suda. Gokaisho litterally means a place to meet and play go – a traditional Japanese board game. But don’t expect […]
A friend told me that he had sort of traveled the world at a very affordable cost. He showed me the pictures he got from his travel. At first, I thought the structures from the pictures were real but realized they were smaller scale models of famous architectures worldwide. Inside the Tobu World Square The images […]
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 […]
Many native English speakers laughs when they see the name of the prefecture, Fukuoka. (The common Japanese name “Takeshita” also makes them laugh.) The name “Hakata” “Hakata” is actually not the official name of the present city. The city’s name is the same as the prefecture’s: “Fukuoka”. However, the major JR (Japan railway) station is […]
Naruto. Surely, when one hears the word Naruto what comes to mind is the popular manga Naruto. Uzumaki Naruto’s name was derived from similar Japanese words: naruto which can mean a powerful whirlpool (maelstrom) or the narutomaki which is the white topping with spiral design on a ramen, and uzumaki(渦巻) which means spiral or the […]
One of the longest running manga and anime today is Meitantei Conan (lit. Great Detective Conan) or known as Case Closed in the West. To date, the manga has more than 80 volumes and the anime has more than 700 episodes. For those who are not familiar with it, it is about highschool detective who […]