Okayama Prefecture is located at the east part of Chugoku District, and its south coast faces Seto Inland Sea (Seto Naikai).
The area is nearly square, and both lengths from east to west and from
north to south are about 90 km.
The inland area is hilly, but there are not so high mountains.
Okayama Prefecture has the largest number of fine days per year in
So various vegitables and fruits has been caltivated. Particularlly, muscat and white peach are the specialty products.
The prefectural capital is Okayama city, and is located at the center
of the south coast.
It is the central city in the prefecture. In addition, it is the important junction in Chugoku District.
San'yo Shinkansen runs along the south coast.
The limited expresses to the main cities along the Sea of Japan in Chugoku District leave from Okayama.
Also the limited expresses to the main cities in Shikoku Island leave from Okayama. These trains cross the Great Seto Bridge (13.1 km long) connecting Honshu Island and Shikoku Island.
Of course, to visit Okayama Prefecture, it is convenient to use
From Kyoto or Osaka, we can reach there within one hour.
From Tokyo, it takes about 3 hours 20-30 minutes.
There is Okayama Airport about 15 km north of Okayama city.
It has the flights from Haneda (Tokyo) and a few cities.
Additionally, it has the international flights from Seoul, Shanghai, Dalian, Beijing and Guam.
|Average value 1981-2010||JAN||FEB||MAR||APR||MAY||JUN||JUL||AUG||SEP||OCT||NOV||DEC|
|Highest Temperature (deg C)||9.0||9.8||13.3||19.6||24.4||27.7||31.4||32.7||27.7||22.5||16.8||11.6|
|Lowest Temperature (deg C)||1.1||1.4||4.3||9.6||14.6||19.4||23.7||24.7||20.7||14.0||8.2||3.3|
|Mean monthly rainfall (mm)||34||51||87||92||125||172||161||87||134||81||51||31|
Saidaiji is a Buddhist temple located about 12 km east of
central Okayama city, and "Eyou" is the main festival of the temple.
The ceremonies are started before three weeks, and a sacred wooden stick are made.
And for two weeks until the main event, the ceremony that many priests worship the stick in the temple is performed.
On the day of the event, thousands of naked men except for a loincloth come to the temple.
The chief priest throws the stick in the crowd, then the men jostle each other to get the stick.
The scene is dynamic, and the last man who has get the stick becomes the lucky man of the year.
It is a large Bon dance held in Takahashi city located
about 40 km northwest of Okayama city.
The old name of this city was "Matsuyama", so the name has been given.
The Bon festival was started in 1648. It is said that the farmers danced for good harvests and prosperity.
Every year, tens of thousands people come to dance, and the scale is the biggest in Okayama Prefecture.
It is the origin of "chirashi-zushi".
In the 17th century, Mitsumasa Ikeda (1609-1682), the lord of Okayama Castle, proclaimed that people had to eat only one dish and one soup as a meal for frugality.
Against this severe order, clever people made one dish containing various foods. They mixed various chopped vegitables into vinegared rice, and topped a variety of fishes and the other foods on the rice.
It looks like "chirashi-zushi" made at home and in sushi restaurants.
But Bara-zushi uses overwhelmingly more ingredients than chirashi-zushi.
It is a kind of grape, and the cultivar is formally
"Muscat of Alexandria".
It is one of the oldest genetically unmodified vines still in existence.
In Japan, it was cultivated first in the 1880s.
But it took root in only Okayama Prefecture because of the suitable climate and soil.
Now Okayama Prefecture provides more than 90 percent of all Japan production of muscat.
White peach is one of the cultivar of peach, and was found
incidentally in Okayama Prefecture in 1899.
The flesh is white, juicy and sweet. The picking season is July and August.
It has been cultivated in several prefectures in Japan.
Okayama Prefecture accounts for about 40 percents of the Japan's white peach production.
It is the pottery produced around Bizen city located at
the southeast part of Okayama Prefecture.
The production started around the 12th century.
Bizen clay bodies have a high iron content, so the pottery has reddish brown color.
It use no glaze, but has markings resulting from wood-burning kiln firing.
And tt is hard like iron.