Recommended tourist information

Bizen, Ushimado and Hinase Areas

Ushimado, a small town between the sea and the sky, has been called the Japanese Aegean Sea. Here you can find beautiful nature along with the culture of the port and the lives of the people there.
The Hinase district is well known in Japan for its fantastic oysters. During the oyster season, there are multiple oyster markets in the area, where they offer kakioko (okonomiyaki with plenty of oysters). These famous kakioko were one of the pioneer foods to be called "B-grade Gourmet" (budget friendly cuisine) in Japan.
In this area is the old Shizutani School which is believed to be the first school for commoners in Japan.

Going up the mountain side with the Seto Inland Sea on your left, you will find the Ushimado Olive Garden. If you hear the word Ushimado, the Olive Garden comes up in people's minds. That's how famous the Olive Garden is here.
It's like you're taking a tour by the actual Aegean Sea. The beautiful sea and mountains, the yacht harbor and Machikado Muse Ushimado Cultural Museum and more are all an unexpectedly pleasant experience.

Oysters from Hinase

Okayama Prefecture is one of Japan's foremost oyster producing prefectures. The oysters from the Bizen area are the most famous in Okayama. How about trying some when they are in season?
Every February, there are oyster markets at every port on most Sundays, such as Hinase Kangoro market, Mana-ichi market and during the Hinase Oyster Festival. Please try the famous kakioko (okonomiyaki with oysters) that people in Okayama love.

Old Shizutani School

Shizutani School was a school for educating commoners directly organized by the local rulers of the Okayama domain during the Edo period (1603 - 1868). Most of the buildings on this property are designated as National Important Cultural Properties, such as the auditorium (designated as a National Treasure), the mausoleum and Shizutani Shrine. The trees and flowers here have different seasonal colors and visitors can enjoy the changes of seasons.
The current building was completed in 1701.
A school for the children of samurai warriors was near Okayama Castle so the Shizutani School was built as a school commoners from the beginning.

Wake Wisteria Festival (limited season)

This area was said to be an open field with profuse natural wisteria in the old days. This park was made to commemorate the birth of the nobleman Wakeno Kiyomaro.
The park is 7,000 square meters. There is a pergola about 7 meters wide, and about 500 meters long, occupying around 3,600 square meters of space.
The 150 wisteria plants in the park were collected from all 46 prefectures in Japan (other than Okinawa).
Now known as the number one wisteria park in Japan, there are over 100 varieties of wisteria, including some which are designated as National Treasures.