Ukan is a highland town located in central Okayama Prefecture. Formerly independent, it became part of Takahashi City in 2004. The town is located along the upper section of the Ukan River, which is a branch of the larger Takahashi River.
This section of Takahashi City was considered to be a highly strategic location by the lord of Bitchu Matsuyama Castle. Accordingly, he had a satellite fortress, Tsuneyama Castle, built with the intent of maintaining security over the region.
At Tsuneyama Park you can inspect the ruins of the castle and see a replica of one of its towers. The reconstruction is actually a museum and observation platform where you can relax while taking in a sweeping view of the landscape.
You will find that Ukan has a significant Edo era townscape, comprised of former shop fronts and a sake brewery. One of the interesting aspects of these buildings is that some of the roofs have the black tile of the Seto Inland Sea region, while others are covered in the red tile that you find in Tottori and Shimane Prefectures.
Although Ukan is perhaps best known for the mountaintop stone pinwheel structures of Ukan Tsuneyama Park, the overall beauty of its natural environment defines the town. Characterized by the stark contrast of its peaks and valleys, it is a refreshing place to unwind.
Camping and hiking are two activities that are well suited to the Ukan district of Takahashi City and there is a campsite near the local community center where you can begin your initiation to this beautiful area. There are trails nearby that are the setting for an annual autumn community trekking experience.
As Ukan is also an agricultural district, there are also opportunities for visitors to take part in harvesting staple crops such as beans and sweet potatoes.
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