Okayama

Last updated
Okayama
岡山市
Okayama City
Okayama Montage2.jpg
(From top, left to right : April Joy's Castle • Okayama Korakuen Garden • Kibitsu Jinja • Okayama Kosanten • Momotaro statue)
Flag of Okayama, Okayama.svg
Emblem of Okayama, Okayama.svg
Okayama
Location of Okayama in Okayama Prefecture
Okayama in Okayama Prefecture Ja.svg
Japan location map with side map of the Ryukyu Islands.svg
Red pog.svg
Okayama
Location in Japan
Coordinates: 34°39′N133°55′E / 34.650°N 133.917°E / 34.650; 133.917 Coordinates: 34°39′N133°55′E / 34.650°N 133.917°E / 34.650; 133.917
CountryJapan
Region Chūgoku (San'yō)
Prefecture Okayama Prefecture
Government
  Mayor Masao Omori
Area
  Total789.92 km2 (304.99 sq mi)
Population
 (February 1, 2017)
  Total720,841
  Density910/km2 (2,400/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+09:00 (JST)
Website www.city.okayama.jp

Okayama (岡山市, Okayama-shi, Japanese:  [okaꜜjama] ) is the capital city of Okayama Prefecture in the Chūgoku region of Japan. The city was founded on June 1, 1889. [1] As of February 2017, the city has an estimated population of 720,841 and a population density of 910 persons per km2. [2] The total area is 789.88 square kilometres (304.97 square miles).

Contents

The city is the site of Kōraku-en, known as one of the top three traditional gardens in Japan, and Okayama Castle, which is ranked among the best 100 Japanese castles. [3] The city is famous as the setting of the Japanese fable "Momotarō". [4]

History

Sengoku period to Tensho era

Okayama Castle Okayama Castle, IMG 5839-5841 AutoAdaptive.jpg
Okayama Castle

Before the Muromachi period, Okayama was one corner of a farm region and included a small castle built by the Kanemitsu. In the Sengoku period, Ukita Naoie attacked Okayama and attacked the castle for the transportation resources and extensive farmland in the region. Naoie remodeled the castle, built the old Sanyo road to the central part of the castle town, and called in craftsmen both from inside and outside of Bizen Province. Okayama became the political and economical capital of Bizen Province.

Edo period

In 1600, Ukita Hideie, who was the son of Naoie and the lord of Okayama, lost at the Battle of Sekigahara. The next year, Kobayakawa Hideaki came to Okayama and became the feudal lord of Okayama Domain. Hideaki died in 1602, however, ending the Kobayakawa line. Ikeda Tadatugu, who was the feudal lord of Himeji Domain, became the next lord of Okayama. After this time, Okayama was ruled by the Ikedas until the latter part of the 19th century. Continuing its economic development, Okayama became one of the ten best large castle towns in Japan in the 18th century. The Korakuen Garden was developed by the fourth feudal lord, Ikeda Tsunamasa.

Meiji Restoration to World War II

Okayama after World War II Okayama after the 1945 air raid.jpg
Okayama after World War II

On August 29, 1871, the new Meiji government of the Empire of Japan replaced the traditional feudal domain system with centralized government authority (Prefectures of Japan). Okayama became the capital of Okayama Prefecture. In 1889, Okayama City was founded. In the Meiji period, a railroad was built in Okayama city that greatly enhanced the development of the city. For example, the Sixth Higher Middle School (第六高等学校, Dairoku Kōtōgakkō) and Okayama Medical College (岡山医科大学, Okayama Ika-daigaku) were established in Okayama City. Okayama became one of the most important places in western Japan for transportation and education. When World War II began, Okayama city had a Japanese Army base camp. On June 29, 1945, the city was attacked by the US Army Air Forces with incendiary bombs. Almost all the city was burned, and more than 1700 people were killed. Okayama suffered terrible damage in the war, losing more than 12,000 households.

Since World War II

During Japan's economic boom of the 1960s, Okayama developed rapidly as one of the most important cities in the Chūgoku and Shikoku regions. In 1972, the San'yō Shinkansen began service between Shin-Ōsaka and Okayama stations. Two years later, Shinkansen service was extended to Hakata.

In 1988, the Seto-Ōhashi Bridge was opened, and connected Okayama with Shikoku directly by rail and road.

The city became a core city in 1996 and a designated city on April 1, 2009. [5]

Geography

Okayama City Hall The Okayama city office is faced from the north.JPG
Okayama City Hall
View near Okayama Station Okayama Station west side - panoramio.jpg
View near Okayama Station

The city of Okayama is located in the southern part of Okayama Prefecture, which in turn is located in western part of the island of Honshū. The city is bounded on the south by the Inland Sea. Asahi River crosses Okayama.

Since Okayama became a designated city in 2009, the city has been divided into four wards (ku).

WardPopulationArea (km2)Density
(per km2)
Map
Kita-ku
(administrative center)
302,685451.03671 Okayama wards.png
Naka-ku

(central ward)

142,23751.242,776
Higashi-ku

(eastern ward)

96,948160.28605
Minami-ku

(southern ward)

167,714127.361,317
Population as of October 1, 2010

Mergers

Kojima, Mitsu, and Akaiwa Districts have all since been dissolved as a result of these mergers.

Climate

Okayama has a mild climate in comparison to most of Japan. It has the most rain-free days (less than 1mm of precipitation) of any city in Japan. It is ranked as the second driest and the fourth sunniest city in the Chūgoku region. [6] The climate is classified under the Köppen climate classification as humid subtropical (Cfa). [7]

The local climate is warm enough throughout the year to support olive trees. Okayama is often called "Land of Sunshine" because of its low number of rainy days per year. [8]

Climate data for Okayama (1991−2020 normals, extremes 1891−present)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °C (°F)18.8
(65.8)
22.3
(72.1)
24.8
(76.6)
29.6
(85.3)
33.6
(92.5)
37.0
(98.6)
38.1
(100.6)
39.3
(102.7)
37.1
(98.8)
33.4
(92.1)
26.9
(80.4)
21.5
(70.7)
39.3
(102.7)
Average high °C (°F)9.6
(49.3)
10.5
(50.9)
14.6
(58.3)
19.8
(67.6)
24.8
(76.6)
27.6
(81.7)
31.8
(89.2)
33.3
(91.9)
29.1
(84.4)
23.4
(74.1)
17.1
(62.8)
11.7
(53.1)
21.1
(70.0)
Daily mean °C (°F)4.6
(40.3)
5.2
(41.4)
8.7
(47.7)
14.1
(57.4)
19.1
(66.4)
22.7
(72.9)
27.0
(80.6)
28.1
(82.6)
23.9
(75.0)
18.0
(64.4)
11.6
(52.9)
6.6
(43.9)
15.8
(60.4)
Average low °C (°F)0.1
(32.2)
0.5
(32.9)
3.5
(38.3)
8.5
(47.3)
14.8
(58.6)
18.7
(65.7)
23.4
(74.1)
24.6
(76.3)
20.0
(68.0)
13.4
(56.1)
6.8
(44.2)
2.1
(35.8)
11.4
(52.5)
Record low °C (°F)−8.9
(16.0)
−9.1
(15.6)
−7.0
(19.4)
−3.6
(25.5)
1.0
(33.8)
7.4
(45.3)
12.6
(54.7)
14.8
(58.6)
7.2
(45.0)
1.7
(35.1)
−3.5
(25.7)
−6.5
(20.3)
−9.1
(15.6)
Average precipitation mm (inches)36.2
(1.43)
45.4
(1.79)
82.5
(3.25)
90.0
(3.54)
112.6
(4.43)
169.3
(6.67)
177.4
(6.98)
97.2
(3.83)
142.2
(5.60)
95.4
(3.76)
53.3
(2.10)
41.5
(1.63)
1,143.1
(45.00)
Average snowfall cm (inches)0
(0)
1
(0.4)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
0
(0)
1
(0.4)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.5 mm)5.46.99.29.69.411.610.97.79.77.76.46.3100.8
Average relative humidity (%)69666560647174697171727169
Mean monthly sunshine hours 149.0145.4177.8192.6205.9153.5169.8203.2157.5171.5153.7153.82,033.7
Source: Japan Meteorological Agency [9]

Economy

Omotecho Shopping Street Omote-chou shopping street.JPG
Omotechō Shopping Street
A map showing Okayama Metropolitan Employment Area. Okayama Metropolitan Employment Area.svg
A map showing Okayama Metropolitan Employment Area.

Agriculture

The city is located in the Okayama Plain, where rice, eggplant, and white Chinese chives are notable products. [10] White peaches and grapes are cultivated in the mountainous, northern part of the city.

Industry

In 2005, the city's gross domestic product was 800 billion yen, [11] nearly 10% of the GDP of Okayama Prefecture. Greater Okayama, Okayama Metropolitan Employment Area, has a GDP of US$63.1 billion as of 2010. [12] [13] The main industries are machine tools, chemicals, foodstuffs and printing. Kōnan, a district in the southern part of the city, is the most developed industrial zone.

Commerce

Okayama is the core of the Okayama metropolitan area, which includes the cities of Kurashiki and Sōja. The main commercial district is Omotechō, near Okayama Castle and Kōraku-en, and the area surrounding Okayama Station. Omotechō has many covered shopping arcades.

The headquarters of Aeon Corporation, a private English language school with more than 3,000 employees, is located in Okayama. [14]

Culture

Koraku-en Korakuen 21.JPG
Kōraku-en

Okayama Castle and Kōraku-en are Okayama's most notable attractions.

Okayama Castle (nicknamed Ujō (烏城 'crow castle') was constructed in 1597 by Ukita Naoie, a Japanese feudal lord. It was destroyed by bombing in 1945 during World War II but reconstructed in 1966.

Kōraku-en, known as one of the three best traditional gardens in Japan, lies south of the castle grounds. Kōrakuen was constructed by Ikeda Tsunamasa over 14 years, and completed in 1700.

Sōgen-ji, a large Buddhist monastery belonging to the Rinzai sect, is located near the center of the city. Several of the abbots of major monasteries in Kyoto are from Sōgen-ji.[ citation needed ]

Festivals

Every August since 1994 Okayama has seen the Momotarō Matsuri (Festival), which is an amalgam of three different festivals, including the Uraja 'ogre' festival, which is a kind of Yosakoi dance.

Music and the arts

Okayama Symphony Hall Okayama symphony hall01s3s3300.jpg
Okayama Symphony Hall

Okayama has a professional symphony orchestra, the Okayama Symphony Orchestra, which performs at the Okayama Symphony Hall.

There are many museums in the city, including the Okayama Prefectural Museum, the Okayama Prefectural Museum of Art, the Hayashibara Museum of Art, the Okayama Orient Museum, the Yumeji Art Museum, and the Okayama Digital Museum.

Cuisine

Okayama has several traditional dishes.Barazushi, a dish made with sushi rice, contains fresh fish from the Seto Inland Sea. Kibi dango (Okayama) (吉備団子) gel-like balls made from a powder of millet and rice, are well known sweets from the area.

Media

Headquarters of the Sanyo Shimbun and TV Setouchi The Sanyo Shimbun headoffice.jpg
Headquarters of the Sanyo Shimbun and TV Setouchi

The Sanyo Shimbun is the local newspaper serving the greater Okayama area. There are six television stations serving the Okayama area and part of Kagawa Prefecture. Three FM and three AM radio stations also serve the region.

TV Stations
Channel IDNameNetworkEstablished yearCall sign
1NHK General TV Okayama NHK General TV 1957JOKK-DTV
2NHK Educational TV Okayama NHK Educational TV 1963JOKB-DTV
4 Nishinippon Broadcasting Co.,Ltd.(RNC) NNN 1958JOKF-DTV
5 Setonaikai Broadcasting Co.,Ltd.(KSB) ANN 1969JOVH-DTV
6 Sanyo Broadcasting Co.,Ltd.(RSK) JNN 1958JOYR-DTV
7 TV Setouchi Broadcasting Co.,Ltd.(TSC) TXN 1985JOPH-DTV
8 Okayama Broadcasting Co.,Ltd.(OHK) FNN 1969JOOH-DTV
Radio Stations
ChannelNameNetworkEstablished yearCall sign
AM 603 kHzNHK Radio Daiichi Okayama NHK Radio Daiichi1931JOKK
AM 1386 kHzNHK Radio Daini OkayamaNHK Radio Daini1946JOKB
AM 1494 kHz Sanyo Broadcasting Co,Ltd.Radio (RSK) JRN, NRN 1958JOYR
FM 88.7 MHzNHK FM Okayama NHK FM 1964JOKK-FM
FM 76.8 MHz FM Okayama JFN 1999JOVV-FM
FM 79.0 MHz Radio MOMO (Okayama City FM) J-WAVE 1997JOZZ8AD-FM

Sports

Okayama has many sports teams. In recent years, volleyball team Okayama Seagulls and football club Fagiano Okayama have been established. In 2009, Fagiano Okayama FC gained promotion to the J. League, the highest football league in Japan.

ClubSportLeagueVenueEstablished
Fagiano Okayama FC Football J. League Division 2 Kanko Stadium (Okayama Prefectural Multipurpose Athletic Stadium)2004
Okayama Seagulls Volleyball V.League Momotaro Arena (Okayama Prefectural Multipurpose Grounds Gym)1999
Okayama Standing Bears American football X-League Kanko Stadium (Okayama Prefectural Multipurpose Athletic Stadium) ?
Citylight Okayama Baseball Team Baseball Semi-professional baseball2008

Okayama was the birthplace of the 31st Yokozuna, Tsunenohana Kan'ichi, in 1896. He won 10 championships, 8 during his time as a Yokozuna.

Education

Okayama University Gang Shan Da Xue Fu Shu Tu Shu Guan Zhong Yang Guan .jpg
Okayama University

Okayama University, founded as a medical school in 1870 and established in 1949 as a national university, is in the city. Today, Okayama University is one of Okayama's largest universities, with 11 faculties and six graduate schools.

There are seven private universities, three junior colleges, 24 high schools (16 public, eight private), seven combined junior high/high schools (two public, five private), 37 junior high schools (36 municipal, one national) and 93 elementary schools (91 municipal, two private) in the city.[ citation needed ]

Universities

High schools

  • Okayama Joto Senior High School
  • Okayama Ichinomiya Senior High School
  • Okayama Asahi Senior High School
  • Okayama Sozan Senior High School
  • Okayama Hosen Senior High School
  • Okayama Gakugeikan High School

Transportation

JR West Okayama Station Okayama station east entrance 2007.9.JPG
JR West Okayama Station

Intercity rail

JR West's Okayama Station is a major interchange, with trains from Shikoku, Sanin and Sanyo connecting to the Sanyo Shinkansen. Local rail lines serving Okayama Station include: Sanyo Main Line, Hakubi Line, Akō Line, Uno Line, Seto-Ōhashi Line, Tsuyama Line, and Kibi Line.

Tramway

Okayama has kept an operational tram system since the Meiji period. It is managed by Okayama Electric Tramway and offers two lines: the Higashiyama Main Line and the Seikibashi Line.

Bus

Seven bus companies provide service within the city limits: Bihoku Bus (備北バス), Chūtetsu Bus (中鉄バス), Okaden Bus (岡電バス), Ryōbi Bus (両備バス), Shimoden Bus (下電バス), Tōbi Bus (東備バス), and Uno Bus (宇野バス).

Air

Okayama Airport, located in the northern part of the city, provides domestic service to Tokyo-Haneda, Sapporo-Chitose, Okinawa-Naha, and Kagoshima. International air service is provided to Seoul-Incheon, Guam, Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai-Pudong, and Dalian.

Kōnan Airport, located to the south, has been a general aviation airport since the opening of Okayama Airport in 1988.

Notable people

Before the fall of Edo

Arts

Politics

Literature

Entertainment

Shin Koyamada, Hollywood actor from The Last Samurai Koyamada in Malibu May 2015.jpg
Shin Koyamada, Hollywood actor from The Last Samurai

Sports

Inventions

Twin towns – sister cities

Okayama is twinned with: [15]

Friendships

Points of interest

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References

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  3. "Castles / List of Japanese Castles". Japan-Guide.com. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
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  5. Archived August 7, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  6. "Outline of Okayama". Pref.okayama.jp. Archived from the original on 2013-01-02. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
  7. "World Maps of Köppen-Geiger climate classification". Koeppen-geiger.vu-wien.ac.at. Retrieved 2013-10-04.
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  9. 気象庁 / 平年値(年・月ごとの値). Japan Meteorological Agency . Retrieved May 19, 2021.
  10. Archived August 28, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  11. "??" (PDF) (in Japanese). City.okayama.jp. Retrieved 21 February 2015.
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  13. Conversion rates - Exchange rates - OECD Data
  14. Archived February 20, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
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