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Kurashiki Bikan Historical Area

Streets lined with white-walled traditional houses

Streets lined with white-walled traditional houses
Streets lined with white-walled traditional houses

This townscape, known for the characteristically Japanese white walls of its residences and the willow trees lining the banks of the Kurashiki River, has earned recognition as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings. Kurashiki prospered in the 1600s as an integral destination for the transportation of goods, and the area continues to offer a historically attractive atmosphere of a calm and harmonious life.

Ohara Museum of Art

Ohara Museum of Art
Ohara Museum of Art

With its many cultural facilities—including the Ohara Museum of Art and its collection of international masterpieces; the red-bricked Kurashiki Ivy Square, a reproduction of the textile factory once representative of Kurashiki, built on the site of the former factory; the Kurashiki Museum of Folkcraft, boasting a collection with some 700 handicrafts; and the Kurashiki Archeological Museum—Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter offers visitors a taste of Western influence harmonized with Japanese style. A large portion of the Honmachi and Higashimachi areas, including the approach coming from the historic Achi-jinja Shrine, offers scenery unspoiled by time and has been designated as a Historical Preservation District. The town is a quiet place lined harmoniously with restaurants, galleries, and general stores.

Traditional Boat Tour of Kurashiki Canal

Traditional Boat Tour of Kurashiki Canal
Traditional Boat Tour of Kurashiki Canal

A particularly popular destination for tourists is the “Traditional Boat Tour of Kurashiki Canal.” This boat tour offers visitors a chance to admire the town’s white walls from a small boat along the Kurashiki River that flows through the center of town. Visitors are also recommended to experience Japanese culture firsthand by donning a kimono or a yukata before strolling through Kurashiki’s historic streets. The Bikan Historical Quarter also offers washoku (Japanese cuisine) restaurants and local confection shops where visitors can enjoy a more literal taste of Japanese tradition.

The night in the Bikan

The night in the Bikan
The night in the Bikan

As night falls and the streets light up, a calmer presence sets in for a somewhat different experience than the daytime. Many of the old machiya (traditional townhouse) have also been rebuilt with modern appeal as lodges and guest houses, giving visitors the option to spend the night in the Bikan Historical Quarter and explore the streets at their own pace.

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