Okayama Japan

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Description: Open source travel guide to Okayama, featuring up-to-date information on attractions, hotels, restaurants, nightlife, travel tips and more. Free and reliable advice written by Wikitravellers from around the globe.

Among the attractions of Okayama, only Kōrakuen is widely known, and the rather ordinary station area doesn't seem to promise much to visitors. But one key unlocks the city's unique charm: Momotarō, the Peach Boy.

According to the Japanese fairytale, an old, childless couple found a peach floating down the river, and inside they found a baby boy. They duly adopted him and named him Momotarō (桃太郎), or (quite literally) "Peach Boy". As he grew, he began to feel greatly indebted to the couple that raised him, and when he was finally grown, he announced that he would be going on a journey to Onigashima (Demon Island) to fight the demons that had been causing trouble in the nearby villages. The old woman prepared kibi-dango (see Eat ) for him to take on his journey and bid him farewell.

On his way to the island, he befriended a dog, a monkey, and a pheasant by giving them each a piece of the kibi-dango. With their help, he defeated the demons; Momotarō took the demons' treasures back home and gave them to the old couple to thank them for all the things they'd done for him throughout the years. The couple rejoiced that he was back safely, and they all lived happily ever after.

Residents claim that Okayama was the original setting of the fairytale, and that it was based on the legend of Prince Kibitsuhiko's battle against the ogre Ura, who is said to have lived in Kino-jo (Demon's Castle) in the area around Soja. Today, Okayama is a busy city of some 700,000 people, and its main street is named Momotarō-Odōri in the Peach Boy's honor; you'll find statues from the tale along the way. Although the Culture Zone can easily fill a full day, try to set aside time for cycling the Kibi Plain — it's another fun way to explore the history of this intriguing area.

The Okayama dialect (岡山弁) is quite different from standard Japanese, with several vocabulary and sound-related distinctions. Sound changes include word-final -i of adjectives changing to a drawn-out -ee (e.g. sugoi ("amazing") to sugee ) and standard da copula becoming ja. with Okayama-specific vocabulary including deeree or bokkee (standard Japanese: totemo. meaning "very") and oidensee (standard Japanese: irasshaimase. "welcome"). Though Okayama dialect is used by men and women, it is thought (even by some locals) to sound somewhat "rough", and even unladylike when used by younger women.

Spoken English ability is generally poor, but some residents may surprise you with their fluency. Locals understand standard Japanese, but depending on the dialectical "severity" of the speaker, you may not understand their response. Of course, any use of the local dialect on your part will likely result in both surprise and good-natured amusement. Despite the lack of English-speakers, Okayama residents tend to be extremely friendly and willing to offer help.

Okayama Airport (OKJ) [2] has arrivals from Tokyo. Sapporo. and Okinawa. There are also direct international flights between Okayama and Seoul and Shanghai.

Okayama is a major stop on the San'yo Shinkansen. All trains passing through Chugoku stop at Okayama. Nozomi trains depart Tokyo at 20 minute intervals, reaching Okayama in about 3 1/2 hours; one Hikari per hour makes the trip in 4 hours and 15 minutes. Hikari Rail Star and Sakura trains also make frequent runs, stopping at Okayama between Osaka. Fukuoka and Kagoshima.

The Sunrise Seto/Sunrise Izumo runs overnight from JR Tokyo Station, leaving at 10PM and arriving in Okayama at 6:27AM. Japan Rail Pass holders must pay the lodging charge on the Tokyo-Okayama segment; the rest of the trip is covered under the pass. Lodging charges range from ¥9450 for a B solo, ¥10,500 for a B single, and ¥16,500 for an A single deluxe. If you really want to travel on the cheap side, ¥3660 gets you your own floor space. literally, you sleep on the floor.

Okayama is also the starting point of Marine Liner rapid trains across the Seto Inland Sea to Takamatsu. and limited express trains to other destinations on the island of Shikoku. Many of these trains to Shikoku are timed for seamless connections with Nozomi arrivals. If you travel on the Marine Liner to Takamatsu using the Japan Rail Pass, a small surcharge will put you in a comfortable Green Car seat.

If you do not have a Japan Rail Pass, it is possible to travel cheaply overnight from Okayama to Matsuyama. Kochi. and Fukuoka during University vacation periods using Moonlight Special Rapid services. These are very popular and tend to get fully booked a month in advance.

Local trains also run northward several times daily to Yonago. Tottori. Matsue. and Izumo. This scenic trip across the mountain range takes about two hours.

Chugoku JR Bus operates an overnight bus service, the Kibi Dream from Tokyo Station and the Yokohama City Air Terminal (YCAT) to Okayama. The travel time is approximately ten hours from Tokyo (¥10,000 one way, ¥16,600 round trip) and nine hours from Yokohama (¥9700 one way, ¥16,200 round trip).

Daytime buses operated by Ryobi Bus run hourly from Osaka Namba (3 hours, ¥3060 one way, ¥5610 round trip), and five times daily from Kyoto (3 1/4 hours, ¥3500 one way, ¥6300 round trip).

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