Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter

A white walled area that integrates Japanese and Western styles while still retaining the Edo era townscape

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This was first a flourishing merchants’ quarter in the Edo Era. It then gained attention afterwards as the buildings of Western architecture integrated themselves into the white walled townscape with the river lined with willow trees. It is a nationally designated Preservation District for Groups of Traditional Buildings.
Kurashiki Bikanchiku, 1-4 Chuo Kurashiki-shi, Okayama
(086) 422-0542

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Regardless of day or night, it is a beautiful retro-modern landscape

The Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter began flourishing in 1642 when it became directly controlled by the Edo shogunate. Along the banks of the Kurashiki River, the area came alive as a distribution center for rice harvested in the surrounding parts, and it developed as a center of commerce. One characteristic of the quarter is the traditional Japanese architectural style through buildings erected in the white-walled kura warehouse style or the namako-kabe style. In the Meiji Era, the quarter began to take on an additional Western architectural flavor with modern museums of art and buildings, and it developed into a townscape with a distinct atmosphere. Along the Kurashiki River which is in the center of town, white-walled buildings stand in a row and during the green seasons, the contrast with the willow trees along the river is outstanding. In the Bikan Quarter, riverboats also operate so that visitors can get a different view of the townscape from the river. The area is lit up until 10 p.m. at night so that it is enveloped in a calm atmosphere which differs from that during the day.

An area that retains the townscape of yesteryear while also alive with the feelings of today

Even today, there are many people who live in the quarter. In the Honmachi area that is only a block away from the Kurashiki River, old residences and merchant houses have been refurbished to become establishments such as lively cafes, galleries and izakayas. Also, starting with the Ohara Museum of Art which owns famous world-class paintings, there are numerous cultural facilities such as the Kurashiki Archaeological Museum and the Kurashiki Museum of Folkcraft. Kurashiki Ivy Square, which was built from an old spinning mill, is a multi-complex facility centering on a hotel. Within its attractive ivy-covered red-brick grounds, you can also take part in pottery workshops, and during the summers only, a beer garden opens up in the courtyard. The square is popular for its open atmosphere among the classical buildings. This quarter which strikes a superb balance between East and West brings memories of the past as you stroll through it but it also has the unique attraction of being able to enjoy the current era.

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8 years ago
Rurouni Kenshin
Kurashiki is really nice if you like old cities. You got a lot of nice narrow streets with many buildings around which contain stores or restaurants. If you may have watched the live action of Rurouni Kenshin some places will look familiar to you. They used it as a location for the first movie. After going around the canal area we went up to a temple with many nice Sakura trees and and incredible view over Kurashiki. (March 2014)
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