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During the Edo Period (1603-1867), Kurashiki was an important point along the distribution route of Japan's most important commodity, rice. Large quantities of rice from the surrounding area were brought into Kurashiki and intermediately stored there in storehouses before being shipped to Osaka and Edo. Because of the city's importance in the rice trade, Kurashiki was put under direct control of the shogunate, and the city was even named after its many storehouses (kura).

Canals were built to allow boats and barges to navigate between the city's storehouses and the nearby port. A central section of the city's former canal system has been preserved in the Bikan Historical Quarter (q~ϒn, Kurashiki Bikan Chiku). The weeping willow trees that line the canal and the stone bridges that cross over the water make for a picturesque scene.

Along the canal, there are many of the original storehouses that were so central to the city's identity. Recognizable by their white walls and black tiles, the former storehouses have been converted into cafes, boutiques, souvenir shops and a number of museums:

Ohara Museum

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Closed: Mondays (unless Monday is a national holiday), Dec 28 to 31
Admission: 1500 yen (includes entrance to the Kojima Museum)
Typical Visit Duration: 30-60 minutes

Museum of Folkcraft

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (until 16:15 from December to February),
Admission ends 15 minutes before closing time
Closed: Mondays (unless Monday is a national holiday), Dec 29 to Jan 1
Admission: 1000 yen
Typical Visit Duration: 10-20 minutes

Toy Museum

Hours: 10:00 to 17:00
Closed: January 1
Admission: 400 yen
Typical Visit Duration: 10-15 minutes

Archaeological Museum

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Closed: Mondays and Tuesdays (except national holidays),
December 27 to January 2
Admission: 500 yen
Typical Visit Duration: 10-15 minutes

Storehouse Shopping Street

Varies by shop; typically 10:00 to 18:00
Closed: Varies by shop

Ratings:    best of the best    best of Japan    outstanding

Getting there and around

The canal area is a 10-15 minute walk from Kurashiki Station's south exit. A main road, Motomachi-dori, leads south from the station to the canal area, but walking through the parallel shopping arcade is more enjoyable and almost as fast.

Travelers, who would rather not walk from the station, can take a bus to the Ohara Bijutsukan bus stop (2 minutes, 170 yen), which is located just beside the Ohara Museum.

How to get to and around Kurashiki

Hotels around Kurashiki

Top rated in Kurashiki
Budget:
    • Kakure-Yado Yuji-inn
      Budget-friendly
      Kakure-Yado Yuji-inn offers Japanese-style rooms and dorm beds in the centre of the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter. It features an air conditioned common space, a restaurant with air conditioning and kotatsu (leg-warming table) and free WiFi. Other facilities include a shared refrigerator, microwave and electric kettle. Kakure-Yado Yuji-inn is only a 3-minute walk from the Ohara Museum of Art and Shinkeien Garden. JR Kurashiki Station is a 15-minute walk or 5-minute drive, and JR Okayama station is 30 minutes away by train. The Seto Ohashi Bridge is a 30-minute drive away. Rooms have a tatami (woven-straw) floor, on which guests sleep in traditional futon bedding. Toilets and bathrooms are shared. Free shampoo and body soap are provided. Guests at Kakure-Yado Yuji-inn can use the washing machine at a charge, and buy detergent on site. Also, toothbrush sets and shaving kits are available at a charge. Guests can also bring food from outside. A convenience shop can be found a 3-minute walk away.
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    • Ryori Ryokan Tsurugata
      Luxury
      Located in the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter, Ryori Ryokan Tsurugata offers Japanese-style accommodations in a historical building from the Edo period. Free Wi-Fi is available at the public areas and guests can relax in the public baths. JR Kurashiki Train Station is a 10-minute walk away. The air-conditioned rooms feature tatami (woven-straw) floors and Japanese futon bedding. Each comes with a seating area with low tables and a flat-screen TV. Japanese Yukata robes and toothbrush sets are provided for all guests and the en suite bathroom comes with a hairdryer. Massages can be requested for an extra cost and local souvenirs can be purchased at the gift shop. Photocopying services and luggage storage is offered at the front desk. Guests can look out into the traditional garden and relax. Traditional multi-course meals are served for dinner and a Japanese set menu for breakfast. Meals are served at the guests' room. Tsurugata Ryori Ryokan is a 2-minute walk from Ohara Museum of Art and a 5-minute walk from Kurashiki Ivy Square. Achi Shrine is also a 5-minute walk away.
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    • Kurashiki Base Inarimachi
      Budget-friendly
      Located in Kurashiki, a 6-minute walk from Shinkeien Garden, Kurashiki Base Inarimachi offers accommodation with free bikes. This guest house has air-conditioned rooms with a private bathroom. Kanryuji Temple is 700 metres from the guest house. The units at the guest house are equipped with a flat-screen TV and a kitchen. The rooms will provide guests with a microwave. A rental bicycle is available free of charge. Yumiko Igarashi Museum is a 10-minute walk from Kurashiki Base Inarimachi, while Bitchu Matsuyama Castle is 27 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okayama Airport, 20 km from the accommodation.
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    • Kurashiki Ivy Square
      Mid-range
      Originally built in 1889 as a red-brick cotton mill, this historical hotel is just 300 metres from the Bikan Historical Quarter. It features 2 restaurants, a bar and gift shop. The air-conditioned rooms at Kurashiki Ivy Square feature cherry-wood furniture and a flat-screen cable TV. Ohara Museum, Yurinso Villa and Kyodo Gangukan (Japanese Folk Toy Museum) are all about a 5-minute walk from the hotel. JR Kurashiki Train Station is a 20-minute walk or 10-minute taxi ride away. Kurashiki Ivy Square Hotel is an official Heritage of Industrial Modernisation site. The hotel features an art gallery. Tsuta Restaurant serves Japanese dishes in Japanese decor. Restaurant Ivy offers Western foods. Bar Akarenga pours drinks in a relaxed setting.
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    • Centurion Hotel & Spa Kurashiki Station
      Mid-range
      Situated in Kurashiki, 1.2 km from Shinkeien Garden, Centurion Hotel & Spa Kurashiki Station features air-conditioned accommodation and a restaurant. The property is set 9 km from Tanematsuyama Park, 11 km from Mizushima Ryokuchi Fukuda Park and 25 km from Daitsu-ji Temple. The accommodation offers a sauna, free WiFi throughout the property and luggage storage space. All rooms in the hotel are fitted with a kettle. The rooms have a private bathroom with a shower, bathrobes and slippers. At Centurion Hotel & Spa Kurashiki each room comes with a desk and a flat-screen TV. Guests at the accommodation can enjoy an American or an Asian breakfast. Popular points of interest near Centurion Hotel & Spa Kurashiki Station include Kanryuji Temple, Yumiko Igarashi Museum and Mitsui Outlet Park Kurashiki. The nearest airport is Okayama Airport, 19 km from the hotel.
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    • Tabino Hotel Kurashiki Mizushima
      Mid-range
      Situated in Kurashiki, within 3 km of Mizushima Ryokuchi Fukuda Park and 7 km of Tanematsuyama Park, Tabino Hotel Kurashiki Mizushima features accommodation with a restaurant and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive. The property is set 8 km from Shinkeien Garden, 25 km from Daitsu-ji Temple and 9 km from Yumiko Igarashi Museum. The accommodation offers a 24-hour front desk, a concierge service and luggage storage for guests. At the hotel, rooms have a desk, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, bed linen and towels. The rooms at Tabino Hotel Kurashiki Mizushima are fitted with a seating area. The accommodation offers a buffet or Asian breakfast. Kanryuji Temple is 10 km from Tabino Hotel Kurashiki Mizushima, while Bitchu Matsuyama Castle is 46 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okayama Airport, 27 km from the hotel.
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    • Dormy Inn Kurashiki Natural Hot Spring
      Mid-range
      Dormy Inn Kurashiki is a 6-minute walk from Kurashiki Train Station and a 40-minute drive from Okayama Airport. It features a restaurant, free wired internet and a public bath with hot spring water. Air-conditioned guestrooms are fitted with a fridge and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels. Communal bath facilities are available. The hotel features a large open-air bath and an indoor public bath on the top floor. A coin launderette, massage services and sauna facilities are also available. English speaking staff can be found at the front desk. Kurashiki Dormy Inn is within 500 metres from Kanryuji Temple and Yumiko Igarashi Museum.
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    • Hostel Cuore Kurashiki
      Budget-friendly
      Just a 10-minute walk from JR Kurashiki Station, Hostel Cuore Kurashiki is located in a historic Bikan district in Kurashiki. Each guest room features unique design and stylish interior. Free WiFi is provided in the public area. Guests at the Cuore Hostel can choose to stay in a private room or in a dormitory room with bunk beds. All rooms feature air conditioning and heating facilities. The hostel provides a terrace and laundry facilities on site. Bicycle rentals can be used at an extra fee. Luggage storage service and drinks vending machines are available for guestsf convenience. Ohara Museum of Art is located 200metres away, and Kanryu-ji Temple is a 7-minute walk from the property. Guests can enjoy strolling around the property at the Bikan district.
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    • Hotel Route-Inn Kurashiki Mizushima
      Mid-range
      Set in Kurashiki, within 2.9 km of Mizushima Ryokuchi Fukuda Park and 7 km of Tanematsuyama Park, Hotel Route-Inn Kurashiki Mizushima offers accommodation with a restaurant and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive. This 3-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space. The property is located 9 km from Yumiko Igarashi Museum and 11 km from Kanryuji Temple. Guests at the hotel can enjoy a buffet breakfast. Shinkeien Garden is 9 km from Hotel Route-Inn Kurashiki Mizushima, while Daitsu-ji Temple is 26 km from the property. The nearest airport is Okayama Airport, 27 km from the accommodation.
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    • Vessel Hotel Kurashiki
      Mid-range
      Set in Kurashiki, within 5 km of Shinkeien Garden and 14 km of Tanematsuyama Park, Vessel Hotel Kurashiki offers accommodation with a restaurant and free WiFi throughout the property as well as free private parking for guests who drive. This 3-star hotel offers a 24-hour front desk and luggage storage space. Kanryuji Temple is 5 km away and Yumiko Igarashi Museum is 5 km from the hotel. At the hotel, every room has a desk, a flat-screen TV, a private bathroom, bed linen and towels. The units will provide guests with a fridge. Guests at Vessel Hotel Kurashiki can enjoy a continental breakfast. Mizushima Ryokuchi Fukuda Park is 15 km from the accommodation, while Daitsu-ji Temple is 29 km away. The nearest airport is Okayama Airport, 15 km from Vessel Hotel Kurashiki.
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