Kurashiki can be found west of the southern plains in
Okayama Prefecture. It is the second largest city in the
prefecture. During the Heian Period, Kurashiki was the
battlefield between the Taira and Minamoto clans.
However, gradually the area developed into a river port
and was placed under the direct control of the Tokugawa
Shogunate in the Edo Period. It was around this time that
many of the trademark white walled, black tiled
storehouses along the river were built. The city became
an important distribution center for large quantities of
rice, which was vital to the Tokugawa Shogunate.
Currently, many of the storehouses were converted into
shops, museums, and cafes. The structures still maintain
the Edo Period look as it was designated as an Important
Traditional Structures Conservation Area by the Agency
for Cultural Affairs. Within the canal area the section
referred to as Bikan Chiku or Bikan Historical Quarter is
the most picturesque and reminiscent of a bygone era.
The Ohara Museum of Art can be found in the canal area. It was the first museum to solely focus on Western art in Japan. There are quite a few museums in Kurashiki like the Japanese Rural Toy Museum and Kurashiki Museum of Folkcraft. The Japanese Rural Toy Museum has a large selection of Japanese traditional toys that is interesting to walkthrough. Attached is a shop that allows you to purchase replicas of the items in the museum. The Kurashiki Museum of Folkcraft is the second folkcrafts museum in Japan and was founded in 1936. The museum has a collection of over 10,000 items related to folkcrafts. Another place of interest is the Ohashi House, which is a traditional mansion that was once home to one of the wealthiest merchant families in Kurashiki. It is one of the very few merchant homes that are open to the public and is designated a National Important Cultural Property.
Chugoku | Okayama | Okayama City
Ohara Museum of Art
The Ohara Museum of Art, located in Kurashiki within Ivy Square, is the oldest museum of Western art in Japan.
Chugoku | Okayama | Kurashiki
Kurashiki Canal Area
Kurashiki Canal Area was an important part of distributing rice in large quantities and is also known as the Bikan Historical Quarter.