Megi-jima Island, which is a part of Setonaikai National Park and about 20 minutes ferry ride from Takamatsu Harbor, is often called by its nickname of Onigashima (Ogres' Island), which derives from a long cave located in the hillside on the island. Since it was discovered in 1930, it has been associated with the ogres’ den in the story of Momotaro.
From the platform above the cave, you can command a panoramic view of the Seto islands including Oshima, Kabuto-jima and Yoroi-jima as well as the attractive fishing village at the foot of the hill, where houses have high stone walls called “ote” to provide protection from cold wind called “Otoshi” in winter.
In Takamatsu City Onigashima Oninoyakata Museum at Megi port, many objects concerning ogres are exhibited.
The Okayama Momotaro Festival is held annually for three days in August in Okayama. Originally, there were various festivals called Okayama Momotaro Festival, Okayama Summer Festival, Uraja-odori parade, and Nouryou Firework Display, each held separately. All of these festivals came together as the Okayama Momotaro Festival in 2001 (Heisei 13).
The highlight of the first day is the Nouryou Firework Display. 5,000 fireworks are set off toward the night sky to gorgeously celebrate the opening of the festival.
Later, the Uraja-odori parade features dancers wearing bizarre makeup called 'ura-geshou'. The motif for the ura-geshou is a man named Ura from mainland Asia, who later became king of the ancient Kibi kingdom (part of today's Okayama Prefecture). There is also a Family Festa, which can be enjoyed by the whole family. There are many events held over the three summer days of the festival in Okayama.
Regardless of age and sex, anyone can join in the Uraja-odori dance, with its distinctive rhythm and bizarre makeup, that has its own unique traditional Japanese style. The three-day festival creates an atmosphere of joyfulness over the summer nights.
During the Tango no Sekku (Boy’s Festival) period in Kochi prefecture, a large flag called “Furafu” is set out with Koinobori (carp streamer) and Nobori (banner). The word “Furafu” is said to have come from a Dutch word “vlag (pronounced as fu-la-fu)” meaning a flag. All the steps in making a Furafu are done by hand. The largest Furafu is about 4 m in length and about 7 m in width, while even a smaller one is about 2 m in length and about 3 m in width. It is a gallant and beautiful decoration. The patterns drawn on Furafu are lively boys that appear in fairly tales like Kintaro or Momotaro, gallant warriors like Toyotomi Hideyoshi or samurai fighting in the Battle of Kawanakajima, and lucky designs like Shichifukujin (Seven Deities of Good Fortune) or Takarabune (treasure ship). Those Furafu are given to a boy as a present from his parents or relatives. Colorful Furafu flying in the clear sky of May give cheerful atmosphere to the towns in Tosa.
Kamadono Hall is part of Kibitsu Shrine in Okayama and is designated as an important national cultural asset.
Kamadono Hall is also popular for a peculiar fortune-telling ritual involving a 'kami' (a large metal cauldron) standing on a 'kamado' (a cooking range with a place for fire underneath). In the hall, people seeking to know their fortune, place offerings such as sacred sake in front of the cauldron and pray to the oracle. The fire below keeps the cauldron hot. If the cauldron produces a loud sound, it represents 'good fortune'; if it stays silent or creates a soft sound, it means 'misfortune'.
There is a legend that the head of the ogre Ura (the origin of the Oni demon) is buried under the kamado. Akinari Ueda in the 'Ugetsu' relates the story that, one night, Prince Kibitsuhiko (the model for Momotaro, the legendary Peach Boy) dreamt of Ura's spirit, which tells the prince to have his wife Azome light the fire beneath the cauldron. The spirit says that a 'rich' sound from the cauldron will bring good fortune, while a 'wild' sound will bring misfortune.
From this legend, we can clearly see how Kibitsuhiko's dream became part of the fortune-telling narukami ritual we see today at the shrine.
Because of its preserved streets, its history and its natural scenery, Kurashiki is the foremost sightseeing spot of Okayama Prefecture. In 1979, the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Area was designated as a Preservation District of Historical Buildings.
The old town of Kurashiki embodies the atmosphere of the Edo period. The town has a subtle harmony of white walls, black 'hongawarabuki', 'nameko' ('sea cucumber') walls, warehouses, lattice windows and the willow-lined river. The town also has many cultural attractions, such as the Ohara Museum of Art. Beautiful buildings, such as the Kurashiki Museum of Folk Craft and the Kurashiki Museum of Archaeology, may be visited. In addition, the Kibi Tumulus is an historic site dating to the ancient Kibi kingdom, which prospered in past.
Other sites around Kurashiki that are popular to visit include Mt Kijo, the birthplace of Momotaro, as well as the historic Kibi-Tsu shrines. Moreover, Kurashiki is known for its scenic views of the beautiful Seto Inland Sea. From the peak of Mt Washu, there is a splendid view of scattered islands among silent waves and the magnificent Seto Ohashi Bridge.
Bicchu Kokubunji is a temple that has been designated as a National Historical Relic Site. It is situated in Soja district, Okayama Prefecture.
Also, Bicchu Kokubunji was built at the Emperor's behest in the Nara period. However, the original temple was destroyed by fire in the Nanboku-chō period. The present structure was rebuilt in the mid-Edo period. The Sangharama, or monastery, was built after the reconstruction. The five-storeyed pagoda is a famous site of Kibiji and Okayama Prefecture. The pagoda has been designated as an important cultural asset. It took over 20 years to build beginning in 1821 and demonstrates the wealth that the country of Bicchu had back then.
Kijo Castle is a Korean-style fortress located on the 400m-high peak of Kijo. It is situated in what is today the Okayama Prefecture town of Sōja.
According to the 'History of Kijo', the castle is the origin of ogres, which appear in the legend of Momotaro. The castle is also believed to be the provenance of the same legend. There is a story that Ura, the prince of Baekje, came to Kibi and founded a country. Later he brewed up some mischief, and seized supplies as well as women and children to send to his country. As a result, people were terrified and named Kijo 'the castle of ogres'.
The fortress extends some 2.8km round on land of about 30 hectares. It is a perfect place for hiking, and from the peak, the whole country of Kibi can be seen.
There are several sites in the vicinity of Ki Jo Castle in Okayama Prefecture that are associated with the legend of Momotaro. Onino-sashiageiwa Rock is one of them.
In Kyuenji, located 3km away from Ki Jo Castle, are many granite rocks, each with a name. The most representative rock among them is Onino-sashiageiwa, which is 15m long, 5m wide and 5m thick. Usually visitors are astonished by its size. It is said that the name derives from the story that Ura, the legendary ogre, hoisted the rock up to make a shelter underneath. The crater in the rock was made when Ura lifted it. It is said that the name 'Kyuen' is derived from the shelter.