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The Magical World of Northern Okayama Prefecture
–Fairy Forest Glass Gallery, Atom Science Museum, Winter Playground –Onbarakogen Ski Resort
On a Sunday at the end of January, my family and I went to the northern part of Okayama Prefecture and the border of Tottori Prefecture to see “Okayama where I didn’t know”. It was still sunny when we left our house, but as we approached to Okutsu Onsen (hot spring), it was a silvery world, and we realized that Okayama Prefecture in the south of Japan is also a snow country.
After passing the Okutsu Onsen sign for about 10 minutes, we arrived at our first destination, the Fairy Forest Glass Art Gallery. As many of you may not know, Okayama Prefecture used to be the only place in Japan where uranium could be obtained. Everyone has the first impression that uranium emits radiation. In fact, after listening to the curator’s explanation of this question, I was reassured.
“The raw materials for uranium glass are silicon dioxide and alkali metal oxides, which are the common ingredients of glass, here, as well as about 0.1% to 1% of uranium compounds to give it color. In other words, the radioactivity from uranium is negligible. On the other hand, there is no need to worry about the radioactivity of uranium glass at this level because there is radiation from space and the earth in nature, and potassium in the human body also emits radiation.”
My daughter took a piece of uranium glass of a cute dolphin, and when she shone a UV lamp on it, it emitted a beautiful green fluorescence. The Fairy Forest Glass Art Gallery is said to be “the only museum in the world dedicated to uranium glass” (Okayama Sightseeing Web, viewed February 27, 2022, https://www.okayama-kanko.jp/okatabi/196/page). Please come and experience this magical world once you have time.
Further north, we found Atom Science Museum at the Ningyo-toge. It was a place where children could enjoy learning about nuclear power from various angles. Then we went to a nearby ski resort, Ongwon Kogen Ski Resort, where the roads were well maintained and cleared of snow. Even though we couldn’t ski, the kids had a great time playing sled in the free Sledging playground.
We have been living in the northern part of Okayama Prefecture for six years now, and I never thought I would be able to have fun in the snowy silver world, not only in Hokkaido, but also in Okayama Prefecture, not to mention meeting a stylish art museum and science museum in the mountains.
Signboard indicating the direction of Okutsu Onsen (Hot spring)
Ten minutes driving after this sign, it is our first destination, the Fairy Forest Glass Art Gallery.
The sign of the Fairy Forest Glass Art Gallery seen from the roadside
It was late January and there was a lot of snow on the ground.
Guide to the Gallery
The Fairy Forest Glass Art Gallery
Address: 666-5 Kamisaihara, Kagamino-cho, Tomata-gun,
Entrance to the Art Gallery
The first floor hall of the Gallery
All photos in the museum have been taken with permission.
Exhibition of uranium glass arts (1)
Exhibition of uranium glass arts (2)
The tour floor on the second floor of the Gallery
As of February 2022, only the Leutor-experience was possible due to the prevention of new coronavirus infection.
Depending on the time of year you visit, there may be plans that do not allow you to experience in the Gallery.
Entrance of the Ningyo-toge Atom Science Museum
Brochure of the Ningyo-toge Atom Science Museum (Face page)
Ningyo-toge Atom Science Museum
Address: 1550 Kamisaihara, Kagamino-cho, Tomata-gun,
Okayama 708-0601, Japan
The back page of the brochure of the Ningyo-toge Atom Science Museum
Uranium stone exposed to UV light
Panel display at the Ningyo-toge Atom Science Museum
The hands-on corner of the Atom Science Museum at Ningyo-toge
Panoramic view from the parking lot of Onbarakogen Ski Resort
Onbarakogen Ski Resort
Address: 2037 Kamisaihara, Kagamino-cho, Tomata-gun,
Opening hours: 8.00 am – 5.00 pm
Onbarakogen Ski Resort Rest House: entrance from the slopes
Ski lift of Onbarakogen Ski Resort: near Sledging playground
Onbarakogen Ski Resort, Sledging Area
It was free of charge to play on the sledges.
It was also possible to bring your own sled or rent one.