Okayama – Korakuen

Continued from our previous post when we were in Okayama Castle, AKA Crow’s Castle.
We then crossed the Moon Viewing Bridge to where we are, right now – Korakuen.
Fall season’s here!!
Click the links below to view where we were, previously!
 
The true beauty of Nature
One of the many reasons why we simply love Autumn!
 
Check out EXPEDIA PACKAGES & HOTELS.COM for all your travel needs!
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Korakuen
後楽園
Korakuen is a Japanese garden located in Okayama, situated in the Chugoku region of Japan.
 
A landscape garden in japan during Autumn; this is as good as it gets!
Korakuen is a beautiful landscape garden and Okayama’s main attraction. Along with Kanazawa’s Kenrokuen and Mito’s Kairakuen, Korakuen is ranked as one of Japan’s three best landscape gardens. 
Korakuen is located just opposite, or across the Moon Viewing Bridge that leads toward Okayama Castle, which can be seen from the garden as “borrowed scenery”.
 
Korakuen is the main attraction of Okayama
One of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan, Okayama Korakuen is a cultural heritage site for the world to treasure.
Wonderful Fall colors of Korakuen
Korakuen is a spacious garden that incorporates the typical features of a Japanese landscape garden, including a large pond, streams, walking paths and a hill that serves as a lookout point.
Rather unique for a Japanese garden, however, are Korakuen’s spacious lawns. Also found in the garden are groves of plum, cherry and maple trees, tea and rice fields, an archery range and a crane aviary.
 
Korakuen is one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan
The local Feudal Lord; Ikeda Tsunamasa ordered his vassal Tsuda Nagatada to begin construction of Okayama Korakuen. The construction of Korakuen in 1687 was meant to be a place of entertainment for the ruling family and a location for receiving important guests.
Under his rule, the public was only occasionally permitted to enter the garden.
 
 
Korakuen was finally completed in 1700, and it has retained its original appearance from the Edo Period down to the present day, except for a few changes by various Daimyo. 
 
“How many colors can you count”?
Korakuen is one of the few Daimyo gardens in the provinces where historical change can be observed, thanks to the many Edo Period paintings and Ikeda Family records and documents left behind. 
The garden then served it’s purpose as a place for entertaining important guests and also as a retreat for Daimyo, although regular folk could also visit on certain days – as originally planned by the feudal lord Ikeda Tsunamasa.
In 1884, a few years after the end of the feudal era, Korakuen soon became the property of Okayama Prefecture and was opened to the public.
 
Koi fish bring peace and tranquility to the park
The garden suffered severe damage from floods in 1934 and bombing during World War 2, in 1945.
However, Korakuen has always been restored based on Edo Period paintings and diagrams.
It has always been restored to its original state thanks to the accurate records kept by the garden’s designers.
Cheese!
In 1952, Korakuen Garden was designated as a Special Scenic Location under the Cultural Properties Protection Law, and is now managed as a historical cultural asset to be passed to future generations.
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Fast Facts on Korakuen
  • The total area of the garden is approximately 133,000 square meters in size.
  • The grassy area is measured at approximately 18,500 square meters in total.
  • The length of the stream in Korakuen is 640 meters long.
  • The garden was originally called: Koen meaning “Later Pleasures Park” because it was built after Okayama Castle. However, since the garden was built in the spirit of: Sen-yu-koraku which means to “Grieve earlier than others, enjoy later than others” or “Hardship now, pleasure later”, the name was eventually changed to Korakuen in 1871.
  • The garden was designed in the Kaiyu – “Scenic promenade” in English – style which presents the visitor with a new view at every turn of the path which connects the lawns, ponds, hills, tea houses, and streams.
 
Plum Grove
Plum Grove was created around the end of the Edo Period. Nowadays, around 100 plum trees bloom with red and white flowers ahead of other flowers to usher in spring, and are beloved as the subject of many songs. Cherry Tree Grove and Chishio-no-mori – Grove are located next to Plum Grove.
The Plum Grove; this area blossoms with Sakura during Spring season.
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Chishio-no-mori
Grove
The maple trees are beautiful in spring, when they are in bud, and in autumn, when their vivid tapestry of auburn hues is like a Japanese brocade. 
Maple trees in Korakuen
This has been one of the most famous scenic spots in the garden for many years. 
Korakuen is well known for showcasing the colors of Fall
It has been called Chishio-no-mori since the garden was built, in reference to the phrase Chishio, which means “dying a cloth many times”.
Across the garden path is Benzaiten-do Shrine and the Inari Shrine.
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Sawa-no-ike
Pond
A huge pond lies in the middle of Korakuen
Sawa-no-ike is a Pond that’s located in the center of Korakuen Garden.
 
 
From the left side, there is Shima-Jaya Teahouse on Naka-no-Shima Island, Mino-shima Island with its fishing palace.
Lush tropical green pines
Even further up left is where Jari-jima, an island with its beautiful white sand and green pines are located.
A point between Naka-no Shima Island and Mino-shima Island once marked the county boundary between the Jodogun and Minogun areas of Okayama Prefecture, and a stone marker is still in that spot to this day.
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Nishiki-ga-Oka
The beautiful colors of Autumn
This area used to be called Nishiki-ga-Oka, meaning: Two-colored Hill.
The Autumn colors in Korakoen are spectacular!
The original design was for a thicket of cherry trees that would bloom in spring, and maple trees whose leaves would turn in autumn, to ensure changing colors in each season. 
A wooden boat in the calm waters. I really like this picture alot!
Japanese cypress trees play the main role nowadays, and wild birds visit in large numbers even though it is a metropolitan area. Mosho-an Teahouse, Shitenno-do Shrine and Jizo-do Shrine are located here.
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Jigen-do Shrine
Jigendo Shrine
This building was constructed in 1697 by Ikeda Tsunamasa with the goal of bringing peace to the clan and stability to the Ikeda Family and the townspeople, and it is guarded by two statues. 
Momiji; Maple Leaves
It is currently empty and inside the precincts, there’re remaining items left, such as Eboshi-iwa: “rocks piled up in the shape of the top of a crow’s head”, made from 36 pieces of granite, a gate, and boards of a seat.
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Noh Stage and Eisho
The rooms around the Noh Stage were used to watch the Noh performances or to treat guests. Ikeda Tsunamasa, who built the garden, vassals and townspeople also watched Noh performances from here. 
It was rebuilt at the time of the succession of the next lord. 
After being burnt to the ground in World War II, it was restored to its original layout.
Okayama Castle in the distance

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Ryuten Rest House

Pebbles of beautiful colors are scattered throughout the stream which passes through the center of the building-a rare design in Japan. 

It has a simple appearance and was used as a resting place for Daimyo – Japanese feudal lords, on his strolls through the garden. 

It is one of the garden’s buildings that escaped damage in World War II.

Paddock and Archery Range
The Archery Range
Korakuen was built not only as a place for Daimyo – Feudal Lords to enjoy the scenery, but also as a training ground for practicing both the literary and military arts. 
Kanki-tei and Kansha-tei were places where Daimyo would observe displays of horsemanship and archery by vassals.

Archery, anyone?

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Crane Aviary
Cranes were kept in the garden since its inception, but there were none left after World War II. 
Ooo… Cranes!
Guo Moruo, Chairman of the China Science Institute, had as a young man attended Okayama’s Dairoku Senior High School, and in 1956 he presented the garden with two cranes. 
Later, in collaboration with Kushuiro City in Hokkaido, the garden succeeded in hatching and raising many cranes, bringing back their once lost beauty to the garden. 
Currently, eight cranes are being reared in the garden.

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Seiden 
Rice Fields
Rice fields in Korakuen
These rice fields are here to remind us of older times when rice fields were spread abundantly throughout the garden. 
They were made at the end of the Edo Period and modeled after the Zhou Dynasty system for taxing rice fields. 
The Rice Planting Festival is held on the second Sunday in June every year.

The rice fields.

And finally….
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Tsurumi-bashi
鶴見橋
Tsurumibashi literally means “Crane Viewing Bridge”.
Crossing the Crane Viewing Bridge
There are two entrances to Korakuen: the south gate, better known as the Moon Viewing Bridge; leads to the bridge that crosses over to Okayama Castle. That was the route we took to access the garden, just after visiting Okayama Castle.
The other entrance or in this case, “exit” to Korakuen is a main gate that’s named: Tsurumibashi situated right beside the Okayama Prefectural Museum.
From there, we took a nice & slow leisurely stroll, heading towards Okayama Station.
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A special thanks to Expedia for making these possible!
 
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Useful Tidbits
Korakuen is about 1.5 kilometers or a 25-30 minute walk east of Okayama Station.
 Trams on the Higashiyama Line can be taken to Shiroshita stop from where the Korakuen Garden’s south gate – the Moon Viewing Bridge, can be reached in a 10-15 minute walk. 
Jr Sanyo Shinkansen
Alternatively, a bus runs between Okayama Station and Korakuen-mae bus stop, which is located just beside the garden’s main gate and bridge – Tsurumi-bashi.
And once we reached Okayama Station, that is where we caught the JR Sanyo Shinkansen – a Bullet Train that took us straight back to Hiroshima.
 
At the local Izakaya in Hiroshima
Upon arriving back in Hiroshima, we went about doing our stuffs.
After which, we had our dinner at the local Izakaya.
 This little greedy monkey here went straight for my Beer the moment it arrived!
 Heck, she also secretly tried my Sake without me knowing and even tasted my Whisky once!
Okonomiyaki – Hiroshima style
Chef at work – doing the Hiroshima Style Okonomiyaki!
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Had a go at the Slots before deciding to call it a day! =)
 
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Thanks for reading!
I hope you’ve found this post informative and hopefully, it may help guide you and bring you to beautiful locations around Japan, should you visit someday!
hidekiuriel

About Joshua Hideki

Hi! I'm Hideki. You can call me Josh! ʕ•ᴥ•ʔ Welcome!!~ This is a Travel Blog covering Japan, and many other bits & pieces of my personal life. Photography, Blogging, Fashion & Traveling in Style. A travel guide for everyone with these passions. Absorb the mesmerizing atmosphere, take in amazing sights & let the enchanting ambiance take you away as you embrace different cultures & see the world through my eyes - my Eternal Memories. Visit my Blog at: JoshuaHideki.com ! Come discover Japan from the inside with me and also we'll provide you with the best destinations to visit; and that includes the rest of the World too! Please enjoy! Discover Japan & Travel the World with me!! Life is precious, you only have one so live it to the fullest!

16 thoughts on “Okayama – Korakuen

  1. the view is so beautiful~!!!!!! 😀
    it seems like u guys had a lot of fun~~

    • Hi! Totally agreed!
      Haven’t heard from you in awhile, how’ve you been?
      Sometimes, it feels really nice to take some time off and appreciate nature for what it really is 🙂

      Happy new year 2013 to you!

      http://www.ColorfulExistence.com

  2. OMG! Beautiful! *_*
    Nice pictures! ^^

  3. Seems like heaps of fun (: and the view is lovely, there’s so many things to do there!

  4. How beautifull place ; D

  5. […] bridge, beautiful gardens surround Okayama Castle. Okayama Castle Park is not to be confused with Korakuen Garden – Okayama’s most popular attraction site and the best landscape garden in Japan. There […]

  6. […] atmosphere and at a reasonable price, the first thing that usually comes to mind is the “Izakaya“ (Japanese style tavern).  The menus are diverse and they are fun for customers of all ages […]

  7. […] And not forgetting Okayama, links below. http://joshuahideki.com/okayama-castle/ http://joshuahideki.com/okayama-korakuen/ http://joshuahideki.com/kurashiki/ Once again from Hiroshima, this time we head for Iwakuni. […]

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