Okayama is famous for its castle (peeking over the shoulder of the tree on the right in the image below), sweet, sweet summer peaches, the story of Momotaro – the Peach Boy), Bizen ceramic ware, various citrus fruit and this spectacular garden –Korakuen – ranked as one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan.
To be perfectly honest, for my tastes it is a little overly structured but it is still incredibly beautiful and there are certainly peaceful pockets where you can wander off and imagine you have the place to yourself. Plenty of great photo opportunities and essential ice cream stops.
These photos were taken around the end April a few years ago – perhaps 2014 – heading towards the end of the Japanese spring – only certain flowers are in bloom. Obviously in other seasons it looks quite different.
Like water off a duck’s back. How calm this fella floats over the top of the Koi fighting each other for food.
Everyone wants a part of the action.
If you guessed peach you were correct! Peach flavoured sweets and creamy soft serve. I’m regretting not having stopped for one… guess I’ll have to return.
Tea bushes above
Fields of pretty flowers
See the rock in the middle of the moat above? I found a tiny purple flower growing out of it. That’s one determined species of flora. I was rather more fascinated by this than the extremely neat and sculptured bushes – which is possibly not very respectful of me. While I do appreciate the work that goes into the planning of such gardens and the presentation of course – they simply don’t resonate like the gardens which are less picture perfect. I just adored the random nature of the single flower shooting to the sky from a lump of rock.
Having said all that – I can’t not love the colour of those azaleas! Crazy beautiful. Can’t take my eyes off them.
Moss under Maple.
White and purple Wisteria – April blooms.
Fruit orchard… I’m guessing peach??
Iris’s just starting to pop their faces out.
If I should ever own a garden of a size bigger than my potted-herb laden balcony – I am determined to include one of these charming zigzag bridges.
According to Zen philosophy the purpose of the bridge’s design is for the person crossing it to be mindful of the now, be in the moment. If you are daydreaming and not appreciating what’s right in front of you then you may just end up in the drink!
I love the beauty of the fallen Camellia almost mirroring the tree above. I’ll be quiet for a moment now for you to enjoy the rest of your stroll around Kenrokuen.
Kissing Fish and… ‘just-good-friends’ tortoise.
You can reach Okayama in just 1 hour from Kyoto via Shinkansen (bullet train).
Or stay the night and relax. Ideally we recommend combining a trip to Okayama with a couple of nights in nearby Kurashiki and do the area in style.
Want to stay longer – you can easily visit Naoshima art island from here too. We’d recommend at least 2-3 nights for that alone!
And if you fancy the Japanese aesthetic you might like to take a peek at our sister site – ZENBU HOME – a collection of beautiful Japanese objects for self or home.