Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter: the Venice of Japan

Japan is full of hidden treasures worth to visit and Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter is not an exception. As you may already know Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter is also known as the Venice of Japan, it is a small but definitely one of the most impressive places in Japan that will make you feel as if you traveled hundreds of years back in time. The district is located just 15 minutes away on the JR Sanyo line from Okayama city. The Quarter has been preserved very well and has unique picturesque canals as well as a rich cultural history.

Visit the historical area of Kurashiki

The Kurashiki historical area or also known as the Bikan area has been around since the 1600s and still to this day it is bustling with tourists and locals. It once was a center of transportation for the rice to Osaka and Edo, the city has many canals that allowed ships to move around the city and transport the goods from warehouses to the port. The canals, as well as the local architecture, are so unique and well preserved that is it easily recognized by its white walls, canals, and clack tiles.

This city is a mixture of Japanese and Western styles that give historical feel with a hint of modernism. Kurashiki offers possibly everything that you need for a perfect trip to Japan, museums, great food, boat rides through the Kurashiki river, and a very rich history and culture. With easy access from Okayama and other cities, you cannot skip this stop while on your vacation in Japan.

Things to do in Kurashiki

Stepping into Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter is like arriving at the Edo period. The old traditional warehouses have been transformed into art galleries, shops, museums, restaurants, and cafes.

Ohara Museum – built in 1930 this is the first Western art museum in Japan. Ohara museum holds impressive works from – Picasso, Greco, Rodin, Klee, Kandinsky, Pollock, and many more.

Opening hours – 9.00-17.00, admission fee – 1500 yen.

Folkcraft Museum – constructed in 1948 it is the first museum that was converted from the storehouses. Folkcraft museum displays Japanese textiles, ceramics, and other household items.

Opening hours – 9.00-17.00, admission fee – 1000 yen.

Archaeological Museum – opened in 1950 and also converted from the warehouse this museum holds an extensive collection of Japanese artifacts.

Opening hours – 9.00-17.00, admission fee – 500 yen.

Kurashiki Canal boat tour – 20-minute boat ride through the city canal while enjoying a guided tour of the Kurashiki history and architecture.

Operating hours – 9.30-17.00, admission fee – 250-500 yen.

Shopping – no trip is complete without souvenirs, a full tummy, and thousands of pictures. Head to the Kurashiki Hondori and enjoy your shopping spree.

Opening hours – 10.00-18.00 (might vary by shop).

Where to eat in Kurashiki

If you need to replenish your energy after a long day of shopping and museum tours try one or all of these local restaurants and cafes for a delicious experience.

Kappa – try the Kurashiki specialty- fried pork cutlet with demi-glace sauce, many visitors that have already visited Kurashiki always come back to this restaurant.

KAG – enjoy a cold glass of IPA and listen to some music at this hipster lounge. They offer cocktails, beer, and amazing burger menus.

Ospitare – get a rice-stuffed omelet before heading on another adventure, this restaurant is right outside the Kurashiki station. If you are traveling with a companion get the Pair Lunch which includes pizza, drinks, and a dessert.

Dadacco – massive plates for reasonable prices. Their specialty is okonomiyaki pancakes filled with veggies and eggs.

Trattoria Hashimaya – book in advance, this restaurant is for a gourmet experience. The chef works only with the most special and freshest ingredients which make this place so popular and loved by tourists and locals.

KuraPura – try seafood from Seto sea, this restaurant is so famous for its dishes that it has been televised as one of the best Japanese restaurants.

Use your Japan Rail Pass to get to Kurashiki

The Japan Rail Pass (also commonly called JR Pass) is a very cost-effective rail ticket which can be used for long-distance train travels everywhere in Japan. The pass can be utilized only by foreign visitors who hold a Tourist visa and will stay in Japan for no longer than 90 days. It ensures unlimited use of JR trains, as well as the JR bus services, throughout the country.

Okayama and Kurashiki stations are connected by a direct JR Sanyo Line, these trains depart frequently. It only takes 15 minutes for you to reach Kurashiki from Okayama, the tickets are 330 yen and they are fully covered by your JR Pass.

Once you arrive at Kurashiki Station you will be only 10 minutes away from the city center if you do not wish to walk you can take the Ohara Bijusukan bus for 120 yen and it will only take you 2 minutes to arrive at the Ohara Museum from the station.