Okayama is located towards the west of Honshu, conveniently placed en-route to Hiroshima from Kyoto and Osaka.

The region’s most well-known attraction is the beautiful Korakuen Garden, considered one of the best gardens in Japan. It is overlooked by Okayama Castle, also known as ‘crow castle’ on account of its black facade. The castle sits on the banks of the Asahi River, which was originally used as a moat.

To the west of the city of Okayama is Kurashiki, whose historic quarter dates from the Edo Period. Quaint traditional houses line the banks of the canal, many of which have been turned into museums and galleries, such as the Ohara Museum with its impressive collection of artwork from well-known Western artists. Kurashiki’s name roughly translates as ‘town of storehouses’, a reference to when the town was an important rice distribution centre. Today it is a charming place to explore.