Okayama 2016 Pt IV: Korakuen Gardens And Okayama-Jo Castle

Three is the magic number in Japan when it comes to rating and numbering things. The Japanese like to categorise in three’s and one such example is the trio of most celebrated gardens. Okayama’s Korakuen Gardens are considered to be one of the three finest gardens in Japan with the others being Kenroku-en in Kanazawa and Kairaku-en in Mito.

IMG_7465 IMG_7463

As I was up early each morning I thought I’d take advantage of them opening early and so was there at 8am (they actually open at 7:30am) with just a few other people present during my time there which was so nice compared to the crowds at other gardens back in Tokyo.

IMG_7468 IMG_7469 IMG_7461 IMG_7470

The gardens have a rich history dating back to the late 17th century when they were constructed and three hundred years later the traditions are being kept alive in this fine strolling garden.

IMG_7471 IMG_7472

Korakuen is a vast expanse of flat lawns with attractive ponds, wooden bridges, tiny islands, teahouses and the mountains rising in the distance all add to the beauty.

IMG_7473 IMG_7474 IMG_7475 IMG_7481 IMG_7478 IMG_7479

The castle overlooking the gardens opens at 9am and I hadn’t really planned to go inside but as I covered Korakuen quicker than expected I thought I would check it out as my recent visit to Chiba-jo castle had taught me that the interiors were more interesting than I originally thought. The fact that there was a bridge linking the gardens and castle made my decision easier as I didn’t really want to go back the long way round. I’d only bought a ticket for the gardens but managed to persuade the lady on the ticket gate to upgrade me to the ‘garden + castle’ ticket combo (560 yen) before setting off over the bridge to see yet another castle.

IMG_7484 IMG_7485

This castle was originally completed in 1597 and is often nicknamed ‘U-jo’ (crow castle) due to the unique black-lacquered weather-boards installed on the castle tower.

IMG_7488 IMG_7491

Akazu-no-mon (unopened gate) is located at the bottom of a flight of stone steps (above) leading to the feudal lord’s residence and, as the name suggests, it was usually closed. It’s foundation stones (below) are not the original ones as they were destroyed in an air raid in 1945 but are instead reconstructed ones arranged in the original style.

IMG_7496 IMG_7499 IMG_7501 IMG_7503

Of particular interest to me was a wall displaying pictures of some of Japan’s finest castles and it seems that I have racked up a fair few over the years. Okayama-jo castle can now be added to that list and though it’s not considered one of the three most cherished castles in Japan, it’s still worth seeing. The views from the top were pretty good.

IMG_7502 IMG_7505 IMG_7504 IMG_7506

It was quite a walk back to the station afterwards (approximately 30 minutes) but I was happy enough to do it as it gave me my only chance to really see a bit more of the city beyond the aforementioned sights, station and my capsule hotel.

IMG_7459 IMG_7507 IMG_7510 IMG_7458 IMG_7511 IMG_7513

Click here to read ‘Okayama 2016 Pt V: On The Fox Trail……At Saijo Inari Shrine’ 

About tokyofox

A Leicester City fan teaching English in Japan
This entry was posted in Japan Travel and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Okayama 2016 Pt IV: Korakuen Gardens And Okayama-Jo Castle

  1. Pingback: Okayama 2016 Pt III: Kurashiki | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  2. Pingback: Okayama 2016 Pt V: On The Fox Trail… At Saijo-Inari Shrine | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  3. Pingback: Okayama 2016 Pt VI: Naoshima | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  4. Pingback: Okayama 2016 Pt VII: 007 Museum in Naoshima | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  5. Pingback: Cycling Around Omishima | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  6. Pingback: Omishima – The Wolverine Filming Locations | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  7. Pingback: Hiroshima 2016 Pt I: Rock Climbing At Mount Mikura-dake | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  8. Pingback: A Weekend Away With The Family In Atami | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

  9. Pingback: Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown – Japan (Kanazawa) | Tokyo Fox (東京狐)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s