Okayama Castle

So, after our lovely lunch stop, we walked back along the Asashi river to Okayama castle. Alternatively, if coming direct from Okayama Station, the castle is a 30 minute walk, or a 5 minute tram ride to the closest stop, and then a further 10-15 minute walk to the castle.

Okayama Castle Hilltop

Once through the gate the path climbed up some stone steps to a flat area with the castle wall on the left side and a view of the city on the right. At the end of castle wall was the Akazunomon Gate which led up more stone steps to the castle.

Akazunomon Gate Steps

The castle was absolutely stunning with the imposing dark exterior and the golden fish-gargoyles flipping their tails, glinting in the sun! And all contrasted by the blue sky, trees, and shrubs! Certainly, created a perfect photo opportunity! 

Okayama Castle_2

Okayama Castle_4

The castle was certainly magnificent and added to a fantastic day! 

Akazunomon Large Entrance Gate


Please find our other Kyoto articles in the 'Okayama' section of the website.

Okayama Castle_1

After passing the bridge that led to Korakuen, mentioned earlier the path climbed up slightly curving to the right to the castles Rokamon Gate, where the fabulous castle could be seen sitting on the hilltop!  

Akazunomon Gate_1
Akazunomon Gate_2
Okayama Castle_3

Okayama Castle or in Japanese Okayama jo, is also known as the “crow castle” because of it’s black exterior mentioned. The castle was built in 1597 in the style of the Azuchi-Momoyama period and has a six-story keep. As already mentioned, the castle is located on the Asashi River and so uses the river as part of its moat. Much of the castle was dismantled after the Meiji Restoration with what remained being burnt down and destroyed during world war II air raids. With the castle being reconstructed in 1966. Only one of Okayama’s Castle’s original buildings survived the destruction during the war, the Tsukimi Yagura or Moon Viewing Turret, which dates back to 1620. There are also a small number of reconstructions and excavated foundations of other former building present within the castle’s grounds, which help illustrate the former extent of the castles complex. 

Okayama Castle former buildings.

From the castle we then headed back to our hotel, but on the way, we came across a really pleasant Shotengai, which in Japanese means “street of stores” it’s basically a street full of a variety of shops, restaurants and café’s. Shotengai date back to the late 1500s and are usually distinctly separated from the residential areas and display a lively and vibrant atmosphere that blends the new and old aspects of Japanese culture.  The street in Okayama was long and narrow and fully enclosed by a decorative glass roof, making it quite unusual, well for us anyway…as it wasn’t quite a shopping centre and wasn’t quite a street…so a bit of both! It took us around 45 minutes to walk through the street and back, and it was nice to have a look around. 


After which we continued back to our hotel to check-in…and yes, our luggage was already in our room for us!  After a quick freshen up, out we went again to a lovely restaurant we had researched for a well-earned beer and lovely meal! 

Evening Meal