Ivy Square is a complex of brick buildings covered in ivy that include museums, restaurants and a hotel. The area was the site of the first modern cotton mill in Japan, and the brick buildings were originally built as part of the mill in 1889. During the Edo Period (1603-1867), before the construction of the mill, the site was used as the office of the local magistrate, who exercised control of the city as a direct representative of the shogunate.

In building Japan's first modern cotton mill, the Kurashiki Bosekijo (Kurashiki spinning mill) company, also known as Kurabo, reaped the profits of introducing new industrial techniques to the country. The company is still active today in the textile and various other industries. Kurabo has built a memorial hall in one of the former cotton warehouses which traces the company's history to the present day. A number of other museums are located within and around Ivy Square:

Kurabo Museum

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:45)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 350 yen
English Information: Minimal
The Kurabo Museum illustrates the history of the Kurashiki Bosekijo (Kurashiki spinning mill) company. There are five rooms each devoted to a different time period, from the company's foundation in 1888 to the present day. Artefacts are displayed for each time period.

Kojima Museum

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Closed: Mondays (unless Monday is a national holiday), Dec 28 to 31
Admission: 1300 yen (also includes Ohara Museum)
English Information: Minimal
This museum is dedicated to the artist Kojima Torajiro (1881-1929), who painted in the Western style. A number of his works are on display, as well as works of Egyptian and Islamic art from his own collection. The museum is part of the Ohara Museum, which houses many European works Kojima purchased on behalf of the owner.

Momotaro Karakuri Museum

Hours: 10:00 to 17:00 (extended hours during the summer)
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 600 yen
English Information: None
The story of Momotaro (Peach Boy) is one of the most famous legends in Japan, and it takes place in the region around Kurashiki. This small museum displays a number of fun devices that all have the legend of Momotaro as a theme. The museum is located just outside Ivy Square.

Piggybank Museum

Hours: 10:30 to 17:00
Closed: Thursdays
Admission: 200 yen
English Information: Moderate
This small museum displays a large collection of piggy banks that were all made in Japan. There are hundreds of piggy banks, ranging from those produced for the 1970 Osaka Expo to those of popular comic book characters. The museum, located outside Ivy Square, is recognizable by the many identical dog statues perched on the building's roof.

Ratings:    best of the best    best of Japan    outstanding

Access

Ivy Square is just a few steps away from the southern half of Kurashiki's preserved canal area.

How to get to and around Kurashiki

Tours and travel services