Bizen City is the cultural and historical gem of southeastern Okayama prefecture. Famous for its pottery, which shares the same name as the small city, Bizen is an old town that incorporates the ancient pottery town of Imbe as well as the Hinase and Yoshinaga districts.
Bizen pottery is unglazed and is made from a heavy, dark brown clay. Bizen pottery exemplifies the concept of wabi-sabi and is therefore popular with many tea ceremony and flower arrangement practitioners. You can try your hand at making your own piece of Bizen pottery, or enjoy perusing the numerous pottery shops.
The Yoshinaga area is known for the historical Hattoji district, where you can enjoy the rustic village scenery. It was used as the setting for the 1998 Japanese period film “Black Rain” on account of its authenticity. There are several accommodation options available in Hattoji, offering a taste of old world living.
The Shizutani School is a must-visit location. It’s the oldest public school in the country, and the roof tiles are made entirely of Bizen pottery. Today it is an educational center so you might encounter school children on a visit there.
The Hinase region is known for its delicious oysters and citrus fruit, as well as for beautiful sunsets over the Seto Inland Sea. Explore the port area and stop in at the massive Go-mi-no-ichi Market and buy some fresh seafood.
Thanks to the Hinase Bridgeline, you can venture out to two of the neighboring islands of the Hinase Archipelago by car. You can visit a nature reserve and an island fishing community.
In order to reach the other islands of the archipelago, you have to take a ferry but it is well worth it. Otabu Island in particular, is home to a popular pension house that happens to be a favorite with international and local travelers.