When I was in Hiruzen area in Okayama prefecture, my coworker and I went to Kurashiki city on our days off. There is an area called “Kurashiki Bikan historical quarte (the Bikan area)” there. It is not far from Hiruzen, only about two hours by car using highway.
The area has a lot of old Japanese style houses and buildings, so the area is officially preserved as an historical area. Trendy shops and foods stores, sometimes shops with decades of history are inside those houses and buildings.
It was for the first time in about seven years to visit, but nothing has changed. Time passes slowly, people in kimono ride in rickshaw, teenagers take selfies with a Instaworthy background. Let’s go virtually to the Bikan area here together!
There is a rickshaw on the alley. Two women are wearing kimono and ride it. The driver is introducing the area to them while driving. Sometimes they make jokes. He stops the rickshaw a few times for passengers to take a picture of the area.
In Japan the rickshaw started in Meiji era, about 150 years ago. It was a very important transportation system back then.
The rickshaw trip around the old Japanese style building will definitely make you feel that you are in that era. Don’t forget to wear your favorite kimono!
Walking around old Japanese style buildings is so much fun. You will find new things, realize again that Japanese building is awesome, or whatever. Some shops or industries that started in old time are still running.
This sake manufacturer is one of them. They work very hard and put a lot of effort to make a good sake. They take good care of choosing ingredients. They know that good ingredients make good foods. Also they have their own way on the process of making.
They offer a tour of the sake manufacturing place, you can touch their mindset through the tour.
When we think of Kurashiki, jeans comes to mind first. Kurashiki city is famous for its jeans. Because of its geography, they started making cotton here. Then they used the cotton to make first jeans in Japan.
There is an alley with a lot of jeans shops. It is called Blue jeans street. Not only jeans shops but a few cafes too. Actually I got a jeans dress here. I fell in love with the dress at first sight! Sorry I did not take a picture of it.
Kawafune nagashi or rowboat experience is also famous here. The river’s name is Kurashiki river. In old times, the river was used to transport things. Many rowboats were going and coming. You can imagine how the area had flourished back then.
Now you can experience that as a passenger on the rowboat. Enjoy from different angle from the rowboat. You might find a new light in the area.
In the title, I said “Visit historical and modern Kurashiki” It is because that the building themselves are old, but some shops sells not old things. Leather crafts, trendy sweets, things from other countries. It is really harmonized well. That is a mix of modern and history.
So do not judge a book by its cover here in the Bikan area. If you get interested, open the door and go inside. It might be a wonderful encounter for you.