Thursday, January 29, 2015

Korakuen - Okayama's most famous and popular attraction by far

Okayama Castle functions well as "borrowed scenery"
for nearby Korakuen

It wasn't fall yet when I visited but there was enough diversity 
in the colors and shades of the foliage to please my eye :)

An aged photographer focused on some brightly colored flowers
whereas I was more interested in the laid out planks that,
together, formed a bridge over calm water

Puppet Ponyo lends a brighter color to the overall green picture ;b

On my most recent Japan trip, I spent the majority of the nights in Okayama, the capital of Okayama Prefecture and the second largest city in the Chukogu Region after Hiroshima.  However, like many other visitors to the area, I only spent time in one tourist attraction in this city with a population of slightly over 700,000 -- electing to spend the bulk of my daylight hours in neighboring locales (such as Bitchu-Takahashi).

Put another way: Okayama is a convenient base for the area -- not least due to it being a major stop on the Shinkansen's Tokaido-Sanyo Line.  But there's really only one place in the city that is considered a "must visit" for both internal and foreign tourists -- and, actually, it's a real doozy.

Among the Japanese, Korakuen is commonly considered to be one of the three most beautiful gardens in the country (with the other two being Mito's Kairakuen -- which I've yet to visit -- and Kanazawa's Kenroku-en -- which I had the good fortune to visit last May).  And Korakuen is where I headed on the morning of the second day of my September Japan vacation.

Completed in 1700, Korakuen falls into the category of Japanese garden that's my favorite: i.e., stroll(ing) gardens. As their name implies, these type of gardens were made for -- and are best appreciated by -- leisure strolling about and around their grounds, often revealing different landscapes as one looks at it from different angles and sections.
At 28 acres (or 11 hectares) in size, Korakuen is larger and more spacious than most other Japanese gardens.  And it also stands out from most other of the country's stroll gardens by having large expanses of grassy space and also a rice "field" along with such as the requisite pond and (artificial) hills.
In addition, Korakuen is one of those gardens with more than one genuine Shinto shrine within its grounds.  And while Okayama-jo lies outside rather than within the garden, the castle's proximity to Korakuen makes for it being part of the pleasing scenery on view when visiting this famous Okayama locale. :)   


Bill said...


The top photo is an interesting mix of nature and architecture from the grounds of a "strolling garden."

You've captured Puppet Ponyo in perhaps her most welcoming and luminous pose: she is a true fountain of youth!...If I may, I would like to add a thought for the victims of the Mount Ontake eruption in September, 2014.


YTSL said...

Hi Bill --

Re Puppet Ponyo: it's like she was trying to say "the garden is big!" with that pose.

And re the Mount Ontake eruption: as it so happened, I was in Okayama when I first heard about it. And thanks for sparing a thought for the victims.