Okazaki (岡崎) is located midway between Nagoya and Toyohashi, in the center of Aichi prefecture. It has a long history, but is
best known for being the birthplace of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Okazaki
Castle is the focus of the city, which was an important Tokaido
post town and river port.
Okazaki has two primary train stations:
- JR Okazaki station, on the Tokaido
Main Line, is in the southern part of the city. The
station is close to the Yamasa Institute, and the Aichi Kanjo line
for Toyota can be accessed
- Higashi-Okazaki, on the private
Meitetsu Line, is in the central part of the city.
This station is convenient for the main tourist sites, such as
Okazaki Castle, Rokusho Jinja, Iga Hachimangu, and Daijuji temple.
It also connects to the Chubu Centrair
International Airport (65 min / ¥1,210).
From Tokyo, the easiest
method of reaching Okazaki by train is to take a shinkansen train
to the transit hub in Nagoya,
then backtrack over to Okazaki. It takes approximately 2 1/2 to 3
hours to reach Okazaki; the approximate one-way cost is ¥11000.
Tokaido Main Line trains reach Okazaki from Nagoya in 30 minutes
(¥ 600), and from Toyohashi in 20 minutes, (¥570) by
shin-kaisoku train. Meitetsu trains reach Higashi-Okazaki
from Nagoya in 40 minutes (¥650), and from Toyohashi in 25 minutes
(¥540) by kyuko train. Faster Meitetsu "Myu" trains
shorten the run with an added surcharge.
All of the above can be used with the Japan Rail Pass,
except the Meitetsu trains.
There is an extensive bus network (Meitetsu and JR buses) that
is difficult to use unless you can speak/read some Japanese. The
central and southern parts of the city are fairly flat, and pretty
ideal for exploring by bicycle.
- Okazaki Castle (岡崎城) and the surrounding park
with its many statues, including a bronze one of Tokugawa
- Takisan Temple (滝山寺), built in the 7th
century, and the adjoining Takisan Toshogu shrine (considered to be
one of the top 3 Toshogu shrines in Japan, together with Nikko and
- The hatchō miso grounds, situated west of
Okazaki Castle near the Yahagi river. The old tile-roofed buildings
are heritage listed and one company (Kaku) has been a family
business for 18 generations. Tours are available every 30 minutes
and free samples are provided.
Okazaki has a wide variety of festivals that shouldn't be
- The large fireworks festival, which people from all over Japan
come to see, that is held annually on the first Saturday in August
in the area surrounding Okazaki Castle.
- The fire festival held in the main hall of Takisan Temple each
February on the closest Saturday to the lunar calendar New
- Yamasa Institute: Aichi Center for Japanese
Studies, 1-2-1 Hanehigashi-machi, ☎ +81-564-55-8111 (fax: +81-564-55-8113), . Well known non-profit Japanese language
institute offering Japanese courses of varying length from beginner
through to advanced levels.
Hatchō miso (八丁味噌), a dark red fermented
soybean paste favored by, among others, the Meiji Emperor,
originates from Okazaki and is the most famous local delicacy.
There are many places to eat in Okazaki, such as:
- Kitsutsuki (啄木鳥), which translates to
"woodpecker" in English, a small, quiet and fairly cheap coffee
shop located right next to the Yamasa Institute. Their "curry and
rice" (ライスカレー Raisu karee) is excellent. Unfortunately,
the menu is in Japanese and the staff don't speak English.
- Beverly Hills (ビバリー・ヒルズ), a coffee lounge (喫茶店
Kissaten) with a serene atmosphere. It can be found by
walking north from the Yamasa Institute, past the highway, if you
look carefully for the sign. It's a bit expensive, but the food is
delicious. There are also a large variety of cakes, cookies and
other sweets available gift-wrapped, which make excellent presents.
The menu is in Japanese and the staff don't speak English.
- Peppers, a tex-mex restaurant near Higashi
Okazaki that offers a good mix of tacos, quesadillas, and wraps.
It's fairly inexpensive, but the menu is in Japanese and the staff
don't speak English.
- Okazaki New Grand Hotel - Close to the castle
and is the most comfortable hotel in the city. The facilities are
about 3 star standard (the city doesn't have a luxury hotel). Rooms
start from about ¥8100 per night (single).
- Okazaki Dai-ichi Hotel - A popular business
hotel next to the Sugo river near the castle and only about five
minutes walk from Higashi Okazaki station. There are several good
restaurants and bars nearby. Starting from ¥5500/single.
- There are several other business hotels near the castle
starting from ¥5500 per night (single).
Nagoya - The bright lights
of Aichi's main city are only a short express train ride away.
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