Enjoy Atmosphere of Modern Times and Western Modern Art. - Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter -
Called "Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter," the area The area around the Kurashiki Canal has beautifully preserved traditional Japanese architectures, such as residences of wealthy merchants, white-walled storehouses, and rows of traditional houses with their lattice windows facing onto paths. It flourished as Tenryo, or territory under the direct control of the Edo (1603-1867) Shogunate. The quarter remains the atmosphere of the commercial town in the days when the area was an accumulation site of goods from the whole Bitchu region, the middle of three parts into which current Okayama Prefecture and the eastern part of Hiroshima Prefecture is divided vertically. The area of the Kurashiki Canal is designated as an Important Preservation District for Groups of Historic Buildings in Japan.
Because of the reclamation of the surrounding areas and the construction of a deadline embankment on the Kojima Bay, the Kurashiki Canal lost its usefulness and function. After the sightseeing boom in Kurashiki in 1968, the waterway was developed and reached its present form. After the sightseeing boom in Kurashiki in 1968, the waterway was developed and reached its present form.
The Ohara Museum of Art, regarded as the core site of the quarter, is the first private museum of Western modern art in Japan. The museum houses artworks, such as paintings, including Claude Monet's Water Lilies and El Greco's Annunciation, and sculptures, including Auguste Rodin's Burghers of Calais. It also has a great collection of Japanese artists' works.
The area has a lot of shops specializing in various foods and products, such as sesame products made from pestle-pounding sesame by the specialists, local sakes produced in Okayama Prefecture, and the croquette, which won the gold prize at the first National Croquette Competition in Japan.
Heartland Kurashiki is a festival held mainly in the quarter of early May. It is popular to watch an old-fashioned boat that carries a girl dressed in a wedding kimono along the canal. It brings back the old times: a bride traveling to her bridegroom's residence. It also has various performances, including Japanese drums. This year it has been postponed until summer due to the spread of the coronavirus.
Kurashiki Tenryo Summer Festival, held on a Saturday in July, is the largest festival in Kurashiki City. It is known for its dance competitions on the main street, Kurashiki Chuo-Dori Avenue, extending from Kurashiki Station. It also has a Japanese chess tournament at Keiken-do of Shinkei-en Garden adjoining the Ohara Museum of Art. In addition, it takes place performances on Kurashiki Chuo-Dori Avenue by a Kurashiki-based Japanese drum group that is active both domestically and overseas, the final of a beauty contest, Kurashiki Komachi, at Ario Kurashiki and other performances.
Visitors can enjoy lots of other events here. They include the Kurashiki Spring Light Festival and Kurashiki Music Festival held in early spring.
A 90-minute regular tour of the area with an English-speaking guide is offered, departing from the entrance of Kurashiki Local History Museum at 9:30. No reservation is required. A charged strolling for a private visitor costs 100 yen. A reservation is required and can be made by fax, not accepted online. A fax form is available at "Kurashiki Welcome Tour Guides." For more information, visit the site.
Getting here: 13 min. on foot from South Gate of Kurashiki Station
Rental bicycles available at Kurashiki City Station of Mizushima Rinkai Railway by Kurashiki Station on JR lines & Tourists' Rest across Kurashiki Chuo-dori Avenue from Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter
Multifunctional bidet toilet seats, or washlet toilet seats, available at the toilets situated at Kurashiki Local History Museum and Music Box Muse.
Free Wi-Fi service available in the area stretching from the South Gate of Kurashiki Station to Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter.