This city is for the guys that may be lacking in the "love" department. Every year you too can join the 9,000 odd half-naked men in the "Hadaka Matsuri" (Naked Festival) in the Bitchu Kokubunji Temple of Okayama. A quirky and for some maybe disturbing 500 year old tradition when thousands of loin cloth draped men go to have their "happy sticks" blessed.
Bodily parts aside; Okayama is the capital city of the prefecture of the same name in the Chugoku region of Japan. Founded in 1889, the city is the supposed setting for the story of Momotaro, the demon-quelling "Peach Boy" hero of Japanese folklore. His picture will be watching you everywhere you go from billboards around the city. It is also home to 1 of the top 3 traditional gardens in the whole of Japan "Okayama Koraku-en" and the black Okayama Castle that is listed in the top 100 castles of Japan.
Most tourists fly past Okayama on the train heading to Hiroshima, but for those that do get off, there are quite a few interesting attractions even if you are not in time for the "happy stick" blessing.
The mysterious and amazing Makido Cave is a staggering 450-meter long limestone cave with an underground lake and numerous stalactites creating brilliant light effects that has to be seen to be believed. If you feel the need to meander around a pond, check out the Shurakuen Garden from the Edo period and take in the historical atmosphere. You should check out the designated National Site of Scenic Beauty from 1339 AD, the Raikyuji Temple, with its famous garden. For the adventure seeker that is over being serene and in beautiful gardens, grab a riverboat on the Kurashiki River and get a different perspective on the area.
There are castles and shrines to wander around as well as the charming and quaint Kurashiki Honmachi Street overflowing with merchants and artisans, historical townhouses and a plethora of cafes and restaurants to haunt when the hunger pangs strike.
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