A chance to visit Koraku-en, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan, is what brings most people to the capital of Okayama Prefecture.
The city developed in the Edo period around the black-walled Okayama Castle (nicknamed Crow Castle), which lies adjacent to these beautiful landscaped grounds.
The gardens were started in 1686 by a local daimyo (feudal lord) and retain many of their original features. Lakes, paths and groves of plum, cherry and maple trees are part of the pretty scene, completed by tea and rice fields.
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