Education, Culture, and History of Okayama

Education, Culture, and History of Okayama

Education of Okayama

Experience the history of education for Okayama’s commoners
at the Old Shizutani School, the first Japan Heritage site

Yamada Hokoku

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Yamada Hokoku (1805–1877) was an educator and a vassal of the Bitchu Matsuyama Domain. As a subject of the Matsuyama Domain, Hokoku helped bring about the domain’s reformation, working to repay debt totaling twice as much as the domain’s revenue while leaving the same amount of accumulated wealth, all in just eight years. These efforts, including developing specialty products, improving farm tools, and promoting encouragement of new industries, always had the interest of the common people in mind. Because he was also an educator, Hokoku encouraged common people to train both body and mind. His actions were based on the philosophies of “Shiminbuiku” (which states that all things are intended for the people) and “Shiseisokudatsu” (the spirit of cordiality and affection). In his later years, Hokoku received a request from the government to assist his country, which he refused and instead dedicated himself to the education of children in private supplementary schools in his hometown, at the Shizutani School, and at other locations.

Bitchu Matsuyama Castle

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Yamada Hokoku served Bitchu Matsuyama Castle, one of Japan’s 12 castles with a main keep that still stands today. The castle is located atop a mountain at an altitude of 430 m, making it the highest fortress in Japan with an existing main keep. Bitchu Matsuyama Castle is famously known as the “Castle in the Sky,” as it appears to be floating on a sea of clouds.

Culture of Okayama

Explore the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter, the venue for the G7 Education Ministers’ Meeting

Magosaburo Ohara

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Magosaburo Ohara (1880–1943) was a businessman that helped modernize Japan. Upon finishing his education at the Shizutani School, Ohara took over the operations of his father’s business, eventually expanding operations into such industries as fiber, finance, electric power, and newspapers. Ohara applied his personal fortune gained through successful business to non-profit projects with high public interest, including projects related to culture, humanity, and welfare. By establishing the Ohara Museum of Art, a facility cherished by many that remains a symbol of Kurashiki even today, Ohara gave countless people the opportunity to experience Western art. In addition, in his commitment to protecting the health and welfare of the socially vulnerable, he not only offered managerial support for orphanages in Okayama but also established the Kurashiki Central Hospital.

Ohara Museum of Art

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The symbol of Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter, the private Ohara Museum of Art features Western works of art in an eye-catching building styled after a Greek temple. Based on the personal collection of Magosaburo Ohara, a businessman from Okayama, the Ohara Museum of Art features numerous world-famous paintings and works such as one of El Greco’s “Annunciation” and Monet’s “Water Lilies.”

Other famous sites in the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter

Japanese Rural Toy Museum
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Kurashiki Museum of Folkcraft
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The Kurashiki Museum of Folkcraft is housed in a renovated medieval rice granary and showcases a variety of folk art.

Shinkei-en Garden
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The former villa of Magosaburo Ohara, a businessman from Kurashiki.

History of Okayama

Casually stroll Okayama’s numerous streetscapes and locations where the history of Japan comes to life

Okayama Townscapes

With post towns and merchant towns that flourished in the 17th to 19th centuries and the red buildings of a mountain village, once a major production area of “Bengala” color pigment made from oxidized iron, still standing, Okayama is home to many townscapes where visitors can still feel the history of Japan. Such areas are still occupied today by residents dedicated to keeping the landscape of these historical towns alive.
Come and walk along these beautiful streets, and experience the lives of residents carrying on the traditional ways into the next generation.

Post town Yakage

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“Bengala” Fukiya

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Katsuyama, the noren (shop curtain) town

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Joto, the castle town of Tsuyama

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Immerse yourself in the Japan of yesteryear

Kibitsu-jinja Shrine
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Tsuyama Castle
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Setonaikai (The Inland Sea)

Savor the Setonaikai (The Inland Sea) while admiring a superb view of the area’s many beautiful islands

Nearby attractions

Kojima, an area located near Mt. Washuzan, is known as the birthplace of jeans in Japan.
Jeans from Kojima, an area teeming with jeans manufacturers, are renowned worldwide for their superior quality.

Kojima Jeans Street

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Betty Smith Jeans Museum

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This website was created by the International Affairs Division, Okayama Prefectural Government.

Copyright Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation. All Right Reserved.
Copyright Okayama Prefectural Tourism Federation. All Right Reserved.