Translated by YukimiMizuno
【OKAYAMA】Kurashiki Bikan - Where 300 Years of History Still Linger
Written by MATCHA
This article features the Kurashiki Bikan area in Okayama prefecture, a place with well preserved historical buildings and a fascinating atmosphere.
Okayama is located between Kyoto and the Kyushu area. As its northern part leads to Izumo-taisha (出雲大社), a well-known Shinto shrine, and its Southern part leads to Shikoku area, Okayama is a transportation hub in the Chugoku area. One of representative areas in Okayama is the Kurashiki Bikan Historical District.
Street with 300 years old historical building
The Bikan area retains the picturesque landscape of the town from 300 years ago, and the area is designated an important traditional building preservation area.
A beautiful white wall has its length up to over 400m, and stores and houses stand along walls. Take a walk in the street, you can feel people' lives, and it doesn't matter which alley you walk through, you will meet something catches your eyes and that touches your heart.
Kurashiki river, which flows through the center of the Bikan area, has a harmonious view with the willow and warehouses. You won't be able to not be moved by the view once you see it.
An artistic town, Kurashiki
It is said that the 300 years lasting landscape of the town has been protected by Western artifacts. In 1908, a local artist Torajiro Kojima went to study abroad in Europe supported by a local businessman Magozaburo Ohara. Torajiro collected famous paintings including "Les Nymphéas" by Claude Monet and "The Annunciationby" El Greco in Europe and opened the Ohara Museum of Art in 1930 in order to exhibit those pictures that he had collected. People say because these arts in Kurashiki were worldly recognized, Kurashiki was able to avoid being attacked during the World War II.
Kurashiki has high level of interests in Arts because of influence from the Western artifacts. Paintings, buildings, Music and landscapes, all of these parts of Kurashiki make the life in Kurashiki rich and deep.
Maintain a good relationship with local people
The Bikan area hasn't made its community as a tourist site, but as a place that enriches local people's lives. That's why there are private residences and we can communicate with local people. Locals are the best guides of Kurashiki as they are expert of their own community, and you can hear a lot about Kurashiki.
The Bikan area has developed as a site that residences would feel comfortable rather than tourists feel good. Even through this area is becoming popular among tourists, you can still feel the sense of vibrancy of people who live there. It's worthwhile taking a trip to the Kurashiki Bikan area in Okayama, so why not?
Kurashiki Bikan area
Address: 1-4-8 Chuo, Kurashiki-shi, Okayama (Kurashiki visitor center)
Station: JR Sanyo-main line "Kurashiki station"
Access: 15 minutes walk from JR Sanyo-main line Kurashiki station
Official Website: Kurashiki city sightseeing information