Tsuyama is a city in central Okayama Prefecture with a population of around 100,000. Nestled in the Chugoku Mountain Range, the natural environment compliments the city’s rich architectual history. The Yoshii River, which runs through the city, had long been the central artery connecting the town to the outside world. Today, it has developed a new importance as a place where locals go to unwind and celebrate.
Tsuyama was a castle town for centuries but after the Meiji Restoration the city’s castle met the same fate as many throughout Japan and was dismantled. Despite this, the city retains the charm of a a typical castle town with visitors flocking to its ruins.
Kakuzan Park surrounds the castle grounds and his said to be the best place for cherry blossom viewing in all of Okayama. Though this may be the case, the park is truly magnificent no matter what the season.
Another visual wonder is Shurakuen Garden, which was designed to resemble the gardens of Kyoto. It was completed in the mid-17th century and captures nature in its idyllic form. The steady disappearance of these gardens throughout Japan inspires visitors to appreciate this gem in Tsuyama. Visitors who enjoy gardens will also enjoy the Chohoji Temple in spring; Chojoji is also known as “The Hydrangea Temple”, and its garden comes into full bloom in June with over 3500 blooming specimens.
One of the best time to visit Tsuyama is in the summer for the Tsuyama Noryo Gongo Festival held of the banks of the Yoshii River. This colorful festival full of food stalls and fun is a great way to feel the spirit of the local people. Vibrant summer kimono and festival attire bring summer to life.
The Jotomachinami Historical Preservation Area is a fine area to stroll in year-round, and visitors will enjoy seeing this authentically preserved merchant street. And if you enjoy natural spots, stop by Nondaki Waterfall; this beautiful fall is 50 meters high and looks like white silk falling over the rocks. It is surrounded by green forest for the perfect minus-ion relaxation.