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Goin’ Japanesque!

Tips on Okayama Travel: Let’s Use Affordable Accommodations Surrounded by Nature

Okayama City and Kurashiki City in Okayama Prefecture have many historic spots remaining (listed below in the article), and they have been popular sightseeing places in the Chugoku Region, attracting many visitors from the old days. However, accommodations are not exactly inexpensive.

Therefore this time I am introducing an accommodation facility established in nature as a great way to save expenses on your trip to Okayama.

This facility is operated by Kurashiki City and located in a lush forest. It has no fancy services but it is a safe and comfortable accommodation facility equipped with all the simple and minimal necessities.

It is not as expensive as a hotel and rules are not as strict as a youth hostel, and it is not as risky as some of temporary lodgings in private residences.


Accommodation Facility: Mabi Utsukushii-Mori


Writer’s Photo

Mabi Utsukushii-mori is located in the northwest of Kurashiki City. It was established for the purpose of offering people opportunities to get familiar with the forest. Its extensive grounds include facilities such as a performing arts building and visitor center, and they are often utilized by students of orchestra or brass band clubs for training camps.

The building at the back is the visitor center and it is the central facility of this Mabi Utsukushii-mori. It is equipped with a large hall, quest rooms and there is a kitchen, too.

1. Lodging at the Visitor Center

1029 yen for 1st ~ 9th grade students, otherwise 2057 yen per person per night
Capacity 13 persons (3 rooms)
Bedding rental at 515 yen per set
Check-in: From 3 PM
Check-out: By10 AM

2. Visiting by Car and Lodging on Campsite

Writer’s Photo

There are seven areas for people to park their cars and camp. The areas have outdoor cooking facilities and you can enjoy barbeque, too.

Writer’s Photo

The premise offers wooden playground equipment and children can play freely, too. Children appeared to be having great fun particularly with the rope play equipment. Taking a stroll in the vast grounds is another fun in addition to the playground equipment.

Usage Fees
Tent site: 1029 yen per site (per tent per night)
Rental tent: 1543 yen per tent (capacity of 6 persons)
Hot shower is available.

3. Lodging at Cottages

Writer’s Photo

5142 yen per building, capacity of 4 persons
I recommend staying at these cottages for adult travelers in a group of 4 people or less.
Cottages are built independently, and you don’t have to worry about people of other groups and your privacy is maintained.

Basic rule on meals is either you cook yourself or bring in prepared food. If you pay usage fees of about 1500 yen and bring in a grill, charcoal, detergent, sponge etc., you can also enjoy barbecue.

Given this level of fees, the total cost won’t be expensive even when you pay for transportation cost such as taxi fare for the access.

Writer’s Photo

This is the inside of a cottage. The ambience is not like that of a log cabin, but it is equipped with air conditioning and a unit bath including a toilet. It is as convenient as a one-room apartment in the center of a metropolis.

In addition, this place has a service of rental beddings unlike cottages of many campsites where you need a sleeping bag. Therefore you can travel light.

The capacity limit was flexible when a group included a child, and the staff permitted us to stay even though we were 4 adults plus some.


Sightseeing in the Area

1. Bicchu Kokubunji Temple


Writer’s Photo

Bicchu Kokubunji temple is located in Soja City Okayama Prefecture, and its five-storied pagoda has symbolic presence in the tranquil countryside. It is about 30 minutes by car from Mabi Utsukushii-mori.

2. Kibitsu Jinja Shrine


Writer’s Photo

Kibitsu Jinja shrine is located in Okayama City, Okayama Prefecture. Its main building and the surrounding corridor is gorgeous and it’s worth seeing. If you visit it, photogenic sights will welcome you in the clean air.

The main building shown in this photo is the only Kibitsu-style architecture in our country, and its size is the second largest following Yasaka Jinja shrine in Kyoto.

At Kibitsu Jinja a special Shinto ritual called Narukama Shinji has been passed along over the centuries. This ritual divines whether a prayer will be answered or not by the sound of a pot. You can have a divination done for you by submitting a request by 2 PM on days other than Fridays. This divination has a long history and it appears in a record from the 16th century.

3. Kurashiki Bikan Historic Quarter


Writer’s Photo

Speaking of Okayama, the historic area along Kurashiki River is very popular. This area has a museum, eateries and souvenir shops lined up along the river while preserving townscape from the Edo period (1603-1868).

The highlights of this area are gathered within a compact walking distance. Thus if you are planning only a stroll, one hour should give you plenty of time, and even including the museum and dining, 2 to 3 hours will be sufficient.

Mabi Utsukushii-Mori
Address: 1647 Mabi-cho Ichiba, Kurashiki City, Okayama Prefecture
Phone: 086-698-8113
*At the year-end, it is closed between December 29 and January 3. From October 17 to March 31 it is closed on weekdays and you can use it only on weekends and holidays.
*Reservation is required 3 or more days in advance.

Take Hakubi Line to Kiyone Station from JR Okayama Station (approximately 25 minutes). It is about 20 minutes by taxi from Kiyone Station. MAP
Information on Mabi Utsukushii-Mori

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About the author

I have worked in a museum as a curator and I specialize is in craft products. I have grown up in the city, but now enjoy the country life. From an environment rich in nature, I will report to you on seasonal events and customs of Japan, foods and how to make them. I look forward to introducing special moments in Japan that you will not see in ordinary guidebooks.

View all articles by Kunie