Okayama Koraku-en : One of Japan’s Three Great Gardens.
Along with being one of the country’s very best, the garden is probably the area’s most famous tourist spot. It has also been awarded Michelin Green Guide Japan’s highest honor – 3 stars!
Autumn Colors @ Okayama Koraku-en
Koraku-en has been introduced on Setouchi Finder before, but in this article I’ d like to take a closer look at the late-autumn charm and beauty of this wonderful garden.
One thing everyone should do is go and see its stunning autumn colors.
As soon as you enter the garden through the main entrance, a large majestic maple tree greets you with its magnificent crown of vibrant, colorful leaves and an air of ancient wisdom.
Throughout the garden, the strong extended branches of the maple trees form stunning natural tunnels.
While there are plenty of spots in the garden that offer fantastic views, Chioshi-no-mori, the garden’s greatest masterpiece, lies at the very back.
While ‘chioshi’ means ‘soaking in dye numerous times’, ’mori’ means woods. One of the most stunning sights of the garden is this area where the contrast of deep scarlet foliage and rich green grass vividly meet. Sadly, the photo above was taken before the autumn colors were at their most impressive. The garden as a whole shows its best autumnal side from mid-November to the beginning of December, but Chioshi-no-mori shows is most impressive at the end of November.
The Majestic Okayama Castle
Koraku-en has an abundance of charms such as seasonal plants and flowers, old traditional buildings and much more. However, its greatest appeal might be the amazing view it offers of the majestic Okayama Castle.
Due to its jet black walls, the castle also goes by the name of U-jo, or Crow Castle in English. It lies just 5-minutes walk from Koraku-en, across the Asahigawa river. What do you think of the view of the castle between the trees of Koraku-en? Pretty cool, right?
There is one more reason you should visit in the autumn. From November 18th – 27th, Okayama Castle, Koraku-en and the surrounding area is beautifully illuminated at night. The garden is also open in the evenings.
Below is a photo of the event.
Night Scenery Taken One Step Further
Just look at the amazing scene!
This modern, artistic setting is a fantastic play between the light of the bamboo-lanterns and the light filtering through Japanese umbrellas created by local artists in the foreground, and the dark silhouette of the castle in the background.
Other breathtaking scenes like the one above come a plenty on a walk in this autumnal wonderland. You can only experience this once a year, so do not miss the chance!
Address: 1-5 Korakuen, Kita Ward, Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture
Open: Throughout the year.
March 20th – September 30th 7:30 – 18:00 (last entrance 17:45)
October 1st – March 19th 8:00 – 17:00 (last entrance 16:45)
※ Opening times change according to events, so please check the homepage for detailed information.
Admission fees: Adults (15 to under 65s) 400 yen. Seniors (65 and above) 140 yen. High school students & younger free-of-charge (free until March 31st, 2017).
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Eri Hatano
Eri Hatano I was born in Miyazaki Prefecture in 1978 and now live in Matsuyama City, Ehime Prefecture. I used to be a newspaper journalist, but work as a freelance writer now. Though I left Ehime 2 years ago, I did not forget the place itself nor the unfailing hospitality and warmth of its people. I finally returned in the spring of 2017. I am absolutely positive that anyone who visits Ehime, even just once, will fall in love with it. That is why I write articles to support those who plan to visit.
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