Okayama is an important transportation hub and one of the largest cities of the Chugoku Region. It is famous because it has one of Japan’s most significant gardens. Although the “Korakuen” Garden was severely damaged by bombs in WWII, the descriptions and paintings from the Edo period permitted an exact reconstruction. It is one of the “Three Gardens of Japan” and has been designated a “Special Scenic Location”. Known formerly as the centre of rice-distribution in the Okayama area, many old warehouses next to the preserved canal have been converted into museums, boutiques and cafes. Another nearby attraction is the Ohara Museum, which was the first Japanese Museum to permanently exhibit Western Art. Specializing in French Art at the beginning, it has an eclectic mix of paintings and objects by El Greco, Renoir, Gauguin, Pissarro, Degas, Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec, Matisse, Rodin, and Picasso, as well as pieces from Jackson Pollock, de Chirico and Jasper Johns.