Okayama Castle's dark black facade led people to begin referring to it as U-jo, or "Crow Castle," a counterpoint to the white walls of Himeji Castle just thirty minutes away on the shinkansen.
You can reach the castle by train and then a tram and a short walk.
From JR Okayama Station you can catch the tram to Shiroshita, where it’s a five-minute walk to the castle.
The castle sits next to the Asahi River, and offers lots of resting spots to sit, soak up the views of the castle, the adjacent Korakuen Garden and locals who use this thoroughfare to go about their daily lives.
Entering the keep is free, and you can see many of its unusual architectural features. Inside the castle are workshops for making the famous style of pottery called Bizen yaki, as well as an opportunity to get dressed up in traditional princess or feudal lord clothing and get photos taken to remember your time in Okayama.
The best way to enjoy this cultural zone is to purchase an Okayama Castle and Korakuen Garden Pass, which offers you a full day of historical discovery. Places that are close by and worth visiting are a few local museums that hold collections of both local artifacts and world-renowned collections of art.
Within this area you will also have numerous local cafes, restaurants that offer locally sourced ingredients that highlight the flavors of Okayama.