Okayama is located between Hiroshima and Hyogo. In Hyogo there is Kobe and Akashi, and in Hiroshima there is Hiroshima City, Miyajima, and Onomichi, which are famous tourist spots, so many people visit there, but Okayama lays in between, and seems to have a kind of dull image. However, the truth is that it has many nice places, they are just not well known. There are spots that are only known by the locals, so let this be your guide to these charming, little-known places.
1.Night View of Factories in Kurashiki
The first place people think of when hearing Okayama is Kurashiki. Kurashiki is an industrial city, and in an important location at the start of the Great Seto Bridge, so there are many factories.
Viewing factories at night is currently undergoing a secret boom in popularity, and since there are so many factories in Kurashiki, it’s the perfect spot for viewing them at night! The best spots for a dreamy view of the factories at night is from Washuzan Skyline, along Route 430, or in front of the Sanoyasu shipbuilding yards. These places are quite well-known, and plenty of local couples visit them.
Other than that, there are some hidden night view spots in the areas around Ushiodori and Utouma. Besides factories, Kurashiki is also known for having a historical townscape. The area around the station is full of traditional-style storehouses, with white walls and lattice windows, giving the area a very unique feel. These areas have also been the locations for shooting NHK’s morning dramas “Massan” and “Carnation”. Also, near the Great Seto Bridge there are parks, from where you can see the splendid bridge up close, which also looks very nice at night.
We recommend that you first enjoy the historical town and the view of the Great Seto Bridge, before enjoying the modern and somehow futuristic night view of the factories.
2.Relaxing in Yunogo Hot Spring
Going inland from the location of the factories right beside the ocean, there is a region called Mimasaka. This is an area surrounded by nature, and is the location of a hot spring region known as Yunogo. It is not well-known outside of Okayama, so really is a bit of a secret. The views are wonderful, and with old-fashioned terraced rice fields, and untouched wilderness, there are also natural insects, meaning that you can enjoy the healing feeling of watching fireflies while relaxing in a hot spring in the middle of nature.
3.Hiruzen Fried Noodles in the Hiruzen Highlands
The third spot is Hiruzen, located close to the border with Tottori Prefecture. It is the location of the Hiruzen highlands, where you can find cows and horses roaming free, and enjoy the sight of the gently sloping farm hills. It is also a place known for the quality of its dairy products, so it might also be a good idea to enjoy some of Hiruzen’s milk or other dairy items. But what cannot be forgotten in Hiruzen is Hiruzen fried noodles. It was previously known for winning first place in the “B Class Gourmet” competition, and is a rare type of fried noodles, using miso to add flavor. There are numerous shops in the area which serve Hiruzen fried noodles, so it could be a good idea to try and compare a few of them.
The bonus spot is a place called Niimi, close to the border with Hiroshima, which is largely unknown by people outside of Okayama, but is a beautiful spot surrounded by nature. The Bitchū Matsuyama Castle is famous, but there are also numerous caverns in the area. Makido cavern is a limestone cavern, which is very large inside and provides wonderful views. Ikurado cavern is a very long limestone cavern. These caverns are a little known spot that are especially nice in summer, when they are nice and cool inside.
This post is also available in: Japanese