A tour of Japanese History in Kurashiki Japan

Kurashiki Japan Guide

History of Kurashiki Japan

It was only in 2005 when the current size and location of Kurashiki has been established after a merger was done between the town of Mabi and Funao. However, this place still has a long history which dates back to the Heian period.

At the time, it was a famous river port where trade and commerce were strong. It became the commercial center of the region. This has provided an opportunity to increase the economy of the city. During the Edo period, it fell between the clashing hands of the Taira and Minamoto clans. During this time, it became a famous image of wealth and power. However, the industrialization brought about by the Meiji Restoration changed the image of Kurashiki forever.

Kurashiki Japan Map

This place in Japan is located on the western side of the Okayama prefecture in Japan. It used to be a famous port area because of its position in the Takahashi River of the Inland Sea. The place is large with an area of 355 square kilometers with a total population of 483,000. The city is visited the most due to its historic buildings and attractions.

Since it is still in a mountainous area, there are a number of ryokans and onsen resorts in the area. One of the places are visited the most would be the Bikan district where 19th-century houses and warehouses are still standing and well-preserved up until today. The city played a big role in Japan’s history which is why it is highly visited by tourists from different parts of the world.

Kurashiki Japan Weather

This place is located in the Chukogu region of the Honshu island of Japan which is known to have temperate climates. Usually, the weather and temperature in the area are cool. The summers are cooler compared to other places such as south of the country. The winters are also cold with occasional snowfall. On average, the daily temperature is about 15.5 degrees.

Kurashiki Japan Tourism

Bikan Historical Quarter of Kurashiki Okayama Japan

Kurashiki was a powerful and wealthy town, especially during the Edo period and their primary commodity was rice and sugar production. The city produces large quantities of rice on a regular basis which is why there are a number of warehouses, mills, and storage in the area.

These rice and sugar goods are stored in 19th-century warehouses which look like mansions from the outside before they are shipped to Tokyo (then Edo) and Osaka. The rice and sugar trade was the bread and butter of all the inhabitants of the city. Some people owned storehouses, others own mills. One of the only mills still standing in the area would be the one standing in Ivy Square. To make trade easier, the city built canals to allow boats to travel from the river into the storehouses found at the city center. This canal system is known as the Bikan Historical Quarter.

Kurashiki Japan Hotels

Since the place is known to be historical, it is also possible traditional inns and hotels in the area. Some places offer up hotel room accommodations that provide room designs as if the person is traveling to 19th century Japan. For those who are more comfortable to stay in more modern hotels, this is still possible. There are suites with indoor onsens, standard rooms with double or twin beds. Some hotels offer free breakfast for every day of stay. There are also rooms where smoking is allowed.

Most hotels have their own parking spaces. The only problem would be the fact that since most of the streets are old-school and historical, the size of the streets would not be that huge and can mostly accommodate pedestrian traffic. There are parking spaces available for free, but these are usually filled-up fast. There are hotels that have their own traditional and authentic restaurants that offer up state of the art cuisine from historical Japan.

Kurashiki Japan Restaurants and Must Eats

The Bukkake udon is the local specialty in Kurashiki and it is a must-try when visiting the city. This is a type of cold noodles with broth enjoyable during the hot summer months. It is made with thick udon noodles, topped with sesame seeds, nori, pickled radishes, onion shoots, and a tomago (egg). This is a local favorite and had been served in Kurashiki restaurants for centuries.

Things to Do Kurashiki Japan

Kurashiki University Japan

The Kurashiki University of Science and Arts is the largest university in the city which was established in 1995. This university offers up language programs for foreign students. The university is also quite keen on its research activities which make sure that the institution provides world-class education with the best and latest technologies are available.

Actually, it was originally established in 1955 as the Kake Educational institution. It opened engineering courses and was turned into the Okayama University of Science in the 1960s. The school started adding more and more departments offering additional courses and industries. In 1995, the Okayama University founded the Kurashiki University of Science and Arts.

Kurashiki Museum of Natural History

A lot of travelers generally call this museum as the Insect Museum of Kurashiki and not everyone really enjoys it. Despite its poor image when it comes to the creepy-crawlies section, this Museum of Natural History is quite educational and it exhibits more things than just insects.

One of the main highlights of the museum would be the geological formation of Okayama prefecture. It shows the possible origins of the land formation which can be seen in the modern world of Okayama. On top of that, it also shows the kinds of materials that the Okayama prefecture stands on explaining how they were formed and more.

The other exhibitions focus on the different plants and wildlife that are local to Okayama. It shows pre-historic data of the different plants and creatures that lived before humans. There are also presentations of artifacts and fossils from different prehistoric eras.

What this place is most popular for would be the Insect World and Plant world exhibit. It shows the general anatomy of insects, their life, origins, and more. There are preserved moths, butterflies and different kinds of insects which are native only to Kurashiki. The Plant World, on the other hand, shows different classifications of plants, the plants which are native only to the region and the like.

Since Kurashiki was a center for the production of rice and sugar during the earlier times, there are also exhibits showing different varieties of rice and sugar, explaining where and when they are best to harvest.

Kojima Torajiro Memorial Hall and Ohara Museum of Art

The Ohara Museum of art is the first and oldest art museum in Japan that feature western, or European-style paintings. This building was established to commemorate Kojima Torajiro who was a famous European-Style painter. This memorial hall is famous for travelers because of the impressive architecture and interior design. On top of that, they enjoy viewing the artwork that the famous painter collected on behalf of the Ohara Museum of Art. A lot of art lovers enjoy going to the Kojima Torajiro Memorial hall for the artwork because they can see the value of the richness of art and how the western culture influenced traditional Japanese art.

Entsuji Temple

This old temple is one of the historical sites located in Kurashiki, Japan. It is found in the town of Tamashima – the center of commerce, governance, and trade in the ancient region of Bitchu. This place is well-loved by travelers because walking about the streets gives someone a feeling of traveling through time. The Nakagai-cho or old town is lined with houses and buildings which are centuries old. The entire is has 400 years worth of history.

The temple is said to have been established more than 200 years ago by a monk named Ryokan. It is said that this man fell in love with the beauty of the mountainside and chose to stay and train in the area to welcome pilgrims who worship the sacredness of the surrounding nature. The Entsuji Temple is one of the best places in Kurashiki to enjoy the blossoms of Sakura during the spring months of April and May.

This place is accessible via 10-minute walk from the Kurashiki station. Some people say that the walk really is worth 20 minutes because the path is uphill. However, all the exhaustion from the climb is worthy of the beauty that is uphill.

Washuzan Highland Park

This amusement park is most popular because of its one-of-a-kind roller coaster that is not like any other. What is known as the SkyCycle is a roller coaster which is powered by a pedal. Each cart is made for only two people with two sets of pedals. It looks simple and fun at first but the tracks are located well up in the mountainside. What makes the ride even worse is that instead of the loops and the fast speed, the ride is slow and terrifying.

Tracks do not have loops but it has sharp curves that make the ride even scarier. The view from the top is not for the weak at heart for the cart is not equipped with walls. The cart is completely bare with nothing but wheels, a seat, pedals, and a handle. The good thing is that there is a seatbelt and the cart is completely strapped onto the rails.

Japan Rural Toy Museum

Kurashiki is known as one of the best places to visit in Japan for an enriching historic vacation. And best way to do this than to appreciate traditional toys from various periods and ages in Japan. This place is one of the favorites of travelers going to the area. It has a large collection, a full four-room museum, of old craft toys from different eras and periods of Japan.

They display toys which have been enjoyed by multiple generations of Japanese children. There are wooden toys, darumas, kites, masks, and more. Most of the items inside the museum are antiques and are often collectibles or are sold at very expensive prices.

Entry fee for museum is only 400 yen. What is special about this place is that none of the toys are made from plastic, most are made from wood or ceramics. There are even toys made from cloth, paper, and stone. This place may not be formal or large but it sure does give people a chance to appreciate the value of these kinds of antique toys.

Kurashiki Museum of Folkcraft

If there is a rural toy museum in Japan, there is also a folk-craft collection as well. This place is a great place to enjoy seeing old household items from different ages and periods in Japan. This includes pottery, stoneware pots, jugs, baskets, and more. Most of the items here are made from bamboo and wood. None of the materials are made from plastic.

This museum is refreshing for many travelers because it deviates from the typical museum that exhibits fossils and artifacts that CHANGED Japanese culture. This museum simply gives an individual a chance to experience and see what the average, everyday Japanese life was during the earlier times. It shows household items, clothing, fabrics and more. The great thing is that most of the items in the exhibit have English translations.

Momotaro’s Karakuri Museum

This museum is best for children and children at heart. It is a small museum dedicated to the character of a famous folktale called Momotaro Karakuri Hakubutsukan. According to the story, this man is guided by his pet monkey, pet dog, and pet pheasant to fight demons and protect the people. The museum features the storyline of the folktale and provides animated versions of every scene. There are also interactive games, optical illusions and more. Visitors can even fight off demons in the caves of Demon Island (Onigashima). It is a fun place to visit, especially for children.