Rakudo-kan Vegetarian Restaurant

Rental Kimonos in Historic Kurashiki City

Saidaiji Okayama

Setouchi City Local Senbei Maker

Setouchi local rice cracker maker, Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture Setouchi local rice cracker maker, Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture Setouchi local rice cracker maker, Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture Setouchi senbei Setouchi senbei Setouchi senbei Setouchi local rice cracker maker, Setouchi City, Okayama Prefecture Hatakeyama Seika Company is one of Setouchi’s success stories. Originally, this company was […]

Shopping in Okayama

Like all cities, Okayama has a thousand and one shops to answer all the shopping needs of the locals, as well as those of tourists who are passing through. It would, of course, be impossible to list them all. However, two places stand out from the others, and I recommend them to all those like […]

Shibukawa Marine Aquarium, Okayama

Performing seals at Shibukawa Marine Aquarium Inside the aquarium The different species from around Japan Performing seals at Shibukawa Marine Aquarium (Photo: Shibukawa Marine Aquarium) Tamano is the site of the Shibukawa Marine Aquarium. Tamano is a small seaside city in Okayama that is to my mind a wonderful place to visit. The first thing […]

Teori Company in Kurashiki

bamboo bowls in 3 different sizes. This product range is called ‘nuts’ bamboo lamp shade This product range is called ‘suiren’ bamboo vase bamboo bowls in 3 different sizes. This product range is called ‘nuts’ (Photo: Teori Company) Teori Company is located in the hills of Mabi Town, Kurashiki City. Traditionally it made furniture from […]

The Best Little Airport in Japan

Okayama Airport (Photo: Hideyuki KAMON ) I just got back to Okayama from Hong Kong last week via Seoul and decided to pay tribute to our little portal to the world. Okayama International Airport may be the smallest international airport you have ever seen but it is still international. I’ve read that rich and famous celebrities […]

The Great Seto Ohashi

Looking down the top level of the Seto Ohashi from Mt. Washuzan The Seto Ohashi Bridge is lit up every Saturday night and on special days of the year Going underneath the bridge by boat Looking down the top level of the Seto Ohashi from Mt. Washuzan As an island nation, bridges play an integral […]

The Home of Bizenyaki

example of bizenyaki pottery by foreign artist John Wells Mr. Namba with two visiting French potters Mr. Namba sitting at his pottery wheel. example of bizenyaki pottery by foreign artist John Wells (Photo: John Wells) Inbe Station, Bizen City is the tale of two exits. The rear exit faces mountains and fields giving no indication […]

Uki Cafe

Meeting the owner of Uki Cafe Meeting the owner of Uki Cafe Birdman dinosaurs are classier at Uki Cafe Homely pasta Marmalade Dessert In many ways a trip to Inujima is a trip back in time. In many ways the changes to the 21st century has bypassed this quiet island with many of the younger […]

Umeki Motorcycle Shop

If you find yourself in Okayama for long enough to think about buying a motorcycle, then you might want to take a look at Umeki Motorcycle Shop. It's a family business that has been around for years and has earned an excellent reputation among motorcyclists. In fact, if you look under the license plate of […]

Where to buy Uniqlo in Kurashiki

Uni-qlo sign examples of uni-qlo t-shirts more examples of uni-qlo t-shirts Uni-qlo sign Uniqlo is one of Japan’s clothing success stories. It originates from Yamaguchi prefecture here in West Japan and if you ever get to Yamaguchi you can still see the first store. I decided to write about this clothing chain as it produces […]

Ushimado Olive Garden

Seaside view in Ushimado town Coffee anyone, the cafe at the Olive garden Organic olive oil and original Olive garden product Seaside view in Ushimado town (Photo: Judith Mikami) The Olive Garden in Ushimado is a sprawling estate that is owned and operated by Nippon Olive Company. The garden has over 10,000 olive trees that […]

Kamoi Company’s Washi Masking Tape

Kamoi Masking Tape Kamoi Masking Tape Examples of Masking Tape Kamoi Masking Tape (Photo: Kamoi Company) Kamoi Company originally made fly-traps, later progressing into industrial masking tape. It was a logical step after developing the infrastructure of paper and glue production. But how does a company go from fly-traps to designer masking tape? According to […]

Yamada Bicycles Kurashiki

Example of a Yamada Original Old School Sign How much is that bicycle in the window? Example of a Yamada Original (Photo: Yamada Bike Shop, Kurashiki City) Bicycles represent our first taste of freedom to move around and see the world. My daughter wrote a letter to Santa asking for a bicycle for Christmas so […]

Yamate no Ichi Country Cooking Cafe

Yamate no Ichi Cafe, Soja City, Okayama Prefecture About 300 meters from Bitchu Kokubunji is a fruit and vegetable stall, a lunchtime buffet restaurant and a local products shop. These types of multi-functional food and shopping experiences are everywhere in Japan. It might seem like a strange place to recommend to a tourist visiting Soja […]

Eating Yoshinoya in Soja City

Yoshinoya resturant inside Yoshinoya beef restaurant this is the kids meal at Yoshinoya Yoshinoya resturant When it comes to Japanese style fast food, Yoshinoya Beef restaurant chain has taken the best parts of traditional cuisine and infused it with efficiency. Its restaurants can be found in most cities throughout Japan, and it is the largest […]

Étoile Café in Okayama

Store front Katsu-don Inside the quaint shop Located a few steps away from the popular tourist accommodation Torii-Kuguru, is the local, quaint café and restaurant, Étoile. Being that I stayed in Torii-Kuguru, I found that unless you are staying near the train station or towards the center of Okayama and around Okayama's tourist attractions (Okayama […]

Takojizo Railway Station

Relive the roaring twenties at Takojizo Station, a tribute to Taisho chic Takojizo is 30 minutes from Kansai Airport on an all stops train, while Kishiwada is 15 minutes by limited express, making it an easy side trip if you are having a layover at the International Airport. The stained glassed windows of Kishiwada Castle […]

Vegan in Japan? A Resident’s Recommendations

Splendid vegan dish at Bon Strawberry picking near Mount Fuji Spring illuminations at Kanga-an Japanese cuisine is delicious and healthy but many vegans in Japan end up simply buying vegetables & fruits at supermarkets and rice balls or French fries elsewhere. Based on 14 years in Japan (notably as tour guide), my recommendations below should […]

Nishiyama in Old Bitchu Area

View of the reservoir en route to Nishiyama An offering of sake to the Gods A Romantic Western Town, I think they mean Western Japan rather than the Wild West, this poster also seems to be from 1999 An unkept shrine covered in vegetation, possibly destroyed by recent heavy rain Memorial stone near the secluded […]

A Day in Niimi City

The largest waterwheel in Japan, Niimi City Masks of ancestors can be found on the way to Tetta Town, Niimi City Niimi Fishing Festival held every year on May 5th Children’s Day, Niimi City Award winning vineyard on a mountaintop in Tetta Town, Niimi City Driving up to Tetta Winery, trees, trees everywhere in Niimi […]

Handayama Botanical Garden

Along the path hydrangea View of Okayama City Along the path You have probably heard that Japan is mountainous. Well, it is. Despite what you may think, being mountainous has its advantages. For one, when you build something on the mountainside you get a spectacular view. Handayama Botanical Garden in Okayama uses this advantage to […]

Hinase and Mushiage Oyster Markets

Oyster festival where you can pick your own (Photo: JF Mushiage) The race to buy your container of oysters during the featival (Photo: JF Mushiage) Open BBQ where you can cook and eat fresh oysters (Photo: JF Mushiage) Oyster beds scattered in a bay (Photo: JF Mushiage) An oyster bed sitting calming in a bay […]

Hokubō Cosmos Festival

Venue: Hokubo Cosmos Square When: Sunday – Oct 10th 2021, 9:00am – 5:00pm On the second Sunday of October each year, a colorful cosmos festival takes place at the Hokubo Cosmos Square in Maniwa City, Okayama Prefecture. The event is home to around one million flowers in a 1 hectare space, and there are also […]

The Old Saidaiji Railway

Saidaiji is well-known for its Hadaka Matsuri or Naked Festival but few people, even locals, are aware that there was once a light rail line that ran to central Okayama City. Saidaiji Railway was in operation from 1911 to 1962 and provided transport along the 11.4 kilometers between what was then Saidaiji Station (currently Ryobi […]

Inujima: Beyond The Seirensho

Pulling into port with the chimneys of the ruined copper refinery that now houses the Inujima Art Project (Photo: GetHiroshima) The god Oyamatsumi is said to have been worshipped by the island’s mine workers. (Photo: GetHiroshima) The simple shrine building is like a work of art itself. (Photo: GetHiroshima) At one time over 5000 people […]


Inujima literally means “dog island”. But don't be mistaken: your chances of coming across stray cats are greater than those of coming across a dog. Inujima was named after a certain rock formation that would call to mind the shape of a sitting dog. Inujima is one of the many islands of the Seto Inland […]

Iwaidaki Waterfall, Tsuyama

People gathered inside the waterfall Side view of the waterfall Often in Japan, you find covered places in nature have some kind of shrine in them, this one has a bag of table salt on it amongst other things Looking out from within the waterfall Beams of light shining in through the trickle of water […]

Miyama English Garden

The Reflecting Pool Bust of Pan Statuary Alley Statuary Alley Fountain Colorful planting The Reflecting Pool Nestled on a hillside at the entrance to Miyama Park in Tamano-shi, Okayama prefecture is the Miyama English Garden. Miyama English Garden was designed by British garden designer Peter Thurman to commemorate the city's 60th anniversary as a municipality. […]

More of Okayama Kirin Beer Park

Another glass and snacks please Kirin brand in the entrance Kirin beer sign Watching the Kirin movie The galleries where you can learn about the process of beer making Outside view of the Kirin plant another outside view of the Kirin plant Inside the plant Kirin packing area inside the plant Beer anyone A family-friendly […]

Okayama Kirin Beer Park

Okayama Kirin Beer Park Kirin Beer On the beer tour Okayama Kirin Beer Park When I asked my young niece where she wanted to go during her summer vacation, she insisted that we go back to the Okayama Kirin Beer Park. Okayama Kirin Beer Park which is located not too far from Wake town and […]

Okayama Krispy Kreme

Okayama Krispy Kreme Bridge to Krispy Kreme Okayama Krispy Kreme When I was a child my friends and I used to walk 10 kilometers to the Krispy Kreme factory in downtown Baltimore after we scraped our pocket change together because in those days they used to sell imperfect donuts for 25 cents per dozen from […]

Okayama Station

Okayama Station stands proudly at the start of one of Okayama city’s biggest streets The interior is vibrantly utilitarian with enough English signage to help you along your way The station features the art of a few local artists in murals on its walls A train attendent arrives for his next shift The platforms are […]

Olive Garden Market

Nippon Olive’s Olive Garden Market offers one more reason to visit Ushimado. Held one Sunday a month from 10 am to 4 pm, the market has continued to gain momentum since its creation at the beginning of 2013. On my first visit I was happy to see that so many people have put the Olive […]

Sakura Season at Handayama Botanical Garden

Venue: Handayama Botanical Garden, Okayama When: Late Mar – Mid Apr 2022 Okayama's Handayama Botanical Garden is an impressive spot to visit year-round for nature lovers. The garden is home to around 150,000 plants in over 3000 species, and of those, one of the most popular drawcards are the springtime cherry blossoms. There are around […]

The Beautiful Forest of Osafune

cute signs showing where the camp site is, Utsukushi Mori, Setouchi City, Okayama the bungalow at Utsukushi Mori, Setouchi City, Okayama the long slide down at Utsukushi Mori, Setouchi City, Okayama cute signs showing where the camp site is, Utsukushi Mori, Setouchi City, Okayama Utsukushi Mori translates into “beautiful forest” in English. There are many […]

The Great Seto Ohashi Bridge

The Seto Ohashi Bridge is lit up every Saturday night and on special days of the year A view of the Seto Ohashi from Kaze No Michi (wind road) in the tiny town of Shimotsui There are many different views of the bridge to be found along the paths of Mt Washuzan Standing beneath the […]

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