Niimi is a charming city with a small town vibe located in northwestern Okayama Prefecture just south of the border with Tottori Prefecture. A highland city situated in the Chugoku Mountain Range, its agriculture prowess and pristine natural environment make it an important part of Okayama’s culinary and recreational landscape.
Excellence in cattle farming has helped distinguish Niimi as a prime beef producer with its high-end Chiya Beef brand. This industry has flourished in the region for hundreds of years and is actually thought to be an early forerunner to the world renowned Kobe Beef brand.
The highland environment has led to the development of a tea plantation in Niimi, adding increased variety to the city’s agricultural and travel experience palette. Have afternoon tea in an elegant tea room and enjoy a walk through an English garden.
Outdoor activities such as skiing, trekking, cycling and paragliding are big in Niimi with both locals and visitors. There are actually several ski slopes around the city which are bustling during the winter months.
Some of the best places to beat the heat of the summer months are the city’s cave systems. Several minutes by car outside the city center are Ikura-do and Maki-do caves. These stunning natural formations are perfect for exploring and when temperatures outside reach 30°C outside, it is a cool and comfortable 15°C in the caves.
Home to a fabulous hot spring, the Chiya area of the city is a place the combines the best in relaxation and cuisine, allowing you to enjoy both excellent home grown beef and regional highland comfort food.
The city center is appealing as well and is appreciated best from the popular cherry blossom viewing spot Joyama Park. From there, you can get an excellent view of the bridge-crossed river that runs through this multifaceted city.