Okayama Kōraku-en Japanese Gardens
Visit these beautiful gardens in Okayama and enjoy peace, tranquility and open space in the middle of the city
Halfway between Osaka and Hiroshima, Okayama is more than just another stop on the Shinkansen. This unassuming commercial city is a jumping-off point for spectacular destinations in the Japanese inland sea like Naoshima and Shodoshima, as well as boasting rich cultural and natural wonders of its own.
Kōraku-en gardens in Okayama
Located in the centre of Okayama, on the north bank of the Asahi river are the Kōraku-en gardens. This beautiful open park space with Japanese gardens is well worth a visit while in Okayama, and you can easily spend a couple of hours walking through the various areas of the gardens and enjoying the typical Japanese manicured landscapes.
The Kōraku-en Japanese gardens are one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, a group of gardens chosen for their fame and beauty.
The gardens were first laid down in the Edo period in the late 1600's, and are constructed with the Kaiyu style, which means a new view is presented at every turn of the path.
Within the gardens and the park area as a whole you'll find a mix of sights to enjoy, including rivers, lakes and man-made waterways and waterwheels, open grassy spaces, manicured borders and planting, bamboo forest, tea plantations and tea houses.
The gardens are not free, the admission charge is about ¥400 (£3 / $4) but it's well worth the admission fee to see and maintain these stunning gardens.
There are also better-value tickets to see Okayama castle and the Koraku-en gardens together if you have enough time for both.
One of the great things about the Kōraku-en gardens in Okayama is that they're not busy - it's an escape from the tourists traps of other cities. Despite its tag as one of the three Great Gardens of Japan, it's not one of the busiest and so you can enjoy peace and tranquility in these gardens.
The nearby Okayama Castle (岡山城, Okayama-jō) The castle is nicknamed Ujō (烏城) or crow castle, because of its black exterior. It was constructed in 1597 by a Japanese feudal lord and then sadly destroyed by bombing in 1945 during World War II. The castle that stands today was reconstructed in 1966 as a replica of the original.
How to get to Okayama Park and Kōraku-en gardens
Okayama Park is quite close to downtime Okayama, as it lies on the river that separates the two sides of the city. The main east-west road that leads from Okayama train station runs almost to the park itself, and it's about a 20 minute walk from the main train station to the Yuejian Bridge which crosses the Asahi river into Okayama Park.
You could catch the tram from Okayama station to Shiroshita tram stop, and then it's only a few minutes walk to the Park.
At the park end of the Yuejian Bridge you'll find the ticket office and entrance to the Koraku-en gardens.
Want to learn more about the Okayama Kōraku-en gardens?
Visit the official website for up-to-date news and information about the Kōraku-en gardens - here's the site in English: https://okayama-korakuen.jp/section/english/