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Kurashiki Canal Area

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Kurashiki Canal Area

Kurashiki Canal Area

Kurashiki Canal Area is located in Okayama Prefecture and was once an important distribution center for large quantities of rice during the Edo Period (1603-1868). From Kurashiki large amounts of rice were distributed to the surrounding areas. It is one of the reasons you will see many warehouses along the canal. Although today they are no longer used as storage, but have been converted into restaurants, shops, and museums. The canal area is also known as Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter and is one of the most picturesque old merchant quarters in Japan.

Kurashiki was placed under the direct control of the Tokugawa Shogunate because of its value as a trade center for rice. It stored rice that would later be transferred to Osaka and Edo (present day Tokyo). The canals were built as a way to allow boats and barges to move easily to the different storehouses. Great efforts were made to maintain the look and atmosphere of the Edo merchant days. Even though not all of the Kurashiki Canal Area was preserved, the ones located in the center provide a good idea on how the system used to be. The white walls and black tiles are indicators on which buildings were once storehouses.



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