Between the Chugoku mountains and the islands in the Seto Inland Sea, you’ll find one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens, the picturesque canal town of Kurashiki, the hometown of ancient Japanese ceramics and an unusual collection of international holiday villas. This prefecture’s ambassador is the popular folkloric hero Momotaro or Peach Boy and it’s the best place to try peaches in a seemingly endless variety of forms.
Nicknamed the land of sunshine, Okayama is a roughly circular chunk of land in the Chugoku region looking out towards the island of Shikoku. The Seto-Ohashi bridge arches over five islands in the Seto Inland Sea, linking Kojima in Okayama to Kagawa in Shikoku, and is an impressive showcase of modern engineering – you can enjoy a bit of bridge-spotting at Mount Washu or take a boat cruise from the port.
Heading further inland you’ll hit Kurashiki, a traditional Edo merchant town best viewed from the small wooden gondolas that cruise the koi-filled canals running through the old quarter. The Ohara Museum of Art in the center of town was Japan’s first-ever museum of western art and houses an impressive collection of European 20th century pieces.
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