Feel the sense of the artistic and picturesque 300-year-old town of Kurashiki
Kurashiki, a city of sightseeing interest in western Okayama Prefecture, is a perfect destination for those keen on Japan’s historical and traditional heritage. During the Edo Period (1603-1867), the town was an important rice distribution center and put under direct control of the shogunate. Sitting on the Takahashi River, it developed a complex system of canals that allowed merchants’ boats and barges to navigate, making the town a busy river port at that time. Today, a central section of the canal area has been nicely preserved in the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter that is always teeming with tourists. Along the canal lined up with weeping willow trees and filled with koi fish, there are many of 17th century wooden storehouses (kura) and residents of merchants painted white with traditional black tiles, retaining the splendor of local life and culture to this day and making for a picturesque scene. Most houses now serve as cafes, boutiques, souvenir shops and also museums, like Museum of Folkcraft and Toy Museum.