Kurashiki – stroll around the old merchant town

Kurashiki (倉敷) is a historic town near Okayama known for its merchant past and old-fashioned canal, which dates back to the Edo period. The area has some interesting museum, cafes and restaurants to experience, most of which are housed in tastefully converted merchant buildings. A lovely place to spend a relaxing day, just strolling around and taking some photos.

Budget travel tips

  • Walk around to all the museums with the map below, or a free one from the Tourist Information center in the station.
  • If you don’t want to spend lots of money on museums, it is perfectly possible to spend a day walking around the area. Take any of the traditional streets that go off from the main canal or shopping streets and take a stroll. Having the free map from the Tourist Information Center in the station will help.
  • Walk to the canal area, which has all the below tourist spots. It is only 10 minutes or so on foot.

Things to do

Kurushiki Museum of Folkcraft
Three Edo-period rice granaries that have been converted into museums. Around 4000 folkcraft objects are on display, including ceramics, rugs, bamboo items and other textiles.
Open: 9:00-17:00 (March-Nov), 9:00-16:15 (Dec-Feb) (closed Monday and Dec 29-Jan 1)
Cost: 700 yen

Japanese Rural Toy Museum
Edo-period house now open to the public, with over 5000 old-school toys from all over the world. Very kitsch. Next to the Kurashiki Museum of Folkcraft.
Open: 9:00-17:00
Cost: 400 yen

Ivy Square
Build in the center of a former weaver plant, this square is full of hip cafes and restaurants. A short walk from the Archaeology Museum.

Archaeology Museum
This former storehouse exhibits over 1400 relics unearthed in Chugoku, plus some from south America. A short walk from the Japanese Rural Toy Museum.
Open: 9:00-17:00 (March-Nov), 9:00-16:15 (Dec-Feb) (closed Monday and Tuesday apart from national holidays, and Dec 29-Jan 2)
Cost: 400 yen

Honmachi-Higashimachi Street (本町踊り、東町踊り)
A quiet, nostalgic street that is a cool way to see a traditional way of life with all the tradesmen’s homes. These were mainly constructed in the Meiji era (17th to 20th centuries) and are now shops, mini museums and inns. A 3 min walk from Ivy Square.

How to get there

From Okayama station, take a JR Sanyo line train to Kurashiki station (15 mins, 320 yen or free with a train pass).

Recommended hostels and cheap hotels

Kurashiki no Guesthouse Kakure-Yado Yuji-inn

Friendly new guesthouse with helpful staff, a large living room to meet new people and share travel ideas and traditional Japanese rooms. Free tea and coffee. Check prices at Agoda and Booking.com.

Compare more at HostelWorldBooking.com and Agoda.

Map

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