Tenno Hachiman Shrine
Imagine 5,000 fireflies flying around the forest like a sea of golden illumination, such as the prefectural natural representation of Okayama. These fireflies seem to be dancing in the tranquil bught, and witnessing this would take you on an out-of-this-world experience. Around mid-July, visitors flock to Tenno Hachiman Shrine as this breathtaking phenomenon happens for only 10 days a year.
The Tenno Hachiman Shrine is about 40 minutes from Niimi Station, JR Hakubi Line and 40 minutes from Chugoku Expressway from Niimi IC by car. The standard viewing hours are from 19:30 to 21:30.
Home of Kinchakuda Manjushage
Kinchakuda Manjushage Park is home to 5,000,000 manjushage (red spider lilies) akin to a sea of radiant rubies as far as your eyes can see. Its name ‘kinchakuda’ translates to pouch field thanks to the land formation created by the Koma River that resembles a pouch. The pouch field is surrounded by 22 hectares of flowing water. Its centre is carpeted with manjushage from mid-September to early October where a festival will be held annually.
It is easy enough to get there as it will only take you 15 minutes on foot from Seibu Ikebukuro Line Koma Station. The admission fee to enter the park is only 300 yen.
A vast field of Japanese pampas grass, locally known as Susuki, located at the foot of Mt. Kuroso, is on another level of otherworldly scenery. Witness it best in autumn when the grass sways in the gentle breeze and the sunset reflect specks of gold and silver. It is easily accessible via the Kintetsu line, then transfer to a bus to reach your destination. Alternatively, you could also take a two-hour leisure majestic sight. Frolic through the fields like the final scene in Hayao Miyazaki’s Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind and feel it energize your soul.