Top things to do

Top Choice Gardens in Okayama

Kōraku-en

Kōraku-en draws the crowds with its reputation as one of the three most beautiful gardens in Japan. It has expansive lawns broken up by ponds, teahouses and other Edo-period buildings, including a nō theatre stage; …
Top Choice Art Installation in Naoshima

Art House Project

In Honmura, half a dozen traditional buildings have been turned over to contemporary artists to use as the setting for creative installations, often incorporating local history. Highlights include Shinro Ohtake's sh…
Top Choice Gallery in Kurashiki

Ōhara Museum of Art

This is Kurashiki's premier museum, housing the predominantly Western art collection amassed by local textile magnate Ōhara Magosaburō (1880–1943), with the help of artist Kojima Torajirō (1881–1929). The varied ass…
Top Choice Museum in Teshima

Teshima Art Museum

Teshima's art 'museum' impresses for its architecture – a monumental concrete shell, forming a low teardrop-shaped dome on the hillside, designed by Tokyo-based architect Ryue Nishizawa. Visitors wander through the …
Top Choice Seafood in Kurashiki

Mamakari-tei

This traditional eatery, in a 200-year-old warehouse with chunky beams and long wooden tables, is famed for mamakari, the sardine-like local speciality. The tasty fish is supposed to induce bouts of uncontrollable f…
Top Choice Barbecue in Kurashiki

Takadaya

This bar is in perfect balance: it manages to have loads of old-Japan charm, while maintaining a cocktail list that features plum wine and shōchū (strong distilled alcohol). Plus its small space isn't intimidating f…
Top Choice Gallery in Teshima

Teshima Yokoo House

Close to Ieura Port, an old house has been converted into exhibition spaces, with a colourful take on a traditional Japanese rock garden outside (which locals helped create). Don't miss stepping inside the tower 'wa…
Top Choice Arts Centre in Bizen

Kibido

This kiln and gallery-shop is run by the Kimura family, one of the six original families granted official permission in the early 1600s to produce pottery in the Bizen region. It's possible to take a free tour of th…
Top Choice Museum in Shōdo-shima

Marukin Soy Sauce Historical Museum

Shōdo-shima was famous for its soy beans long before olives arrived, and several old soy-sauce companies are still in business here. Marukin has a small museum with displays of the sauce-making process, old implemen…
Top Choice Japanese in Okayama

Teppan-Ku-Ya

An extremely popular fusion restaurant for Japanese classics such as tako-yaki (grilled octopus dumplings). The best bet is the set six-course meal, which includes French-leaning flavours in pumpkin soup, grilled pr…