Kurashiki is a small town close to the Inland Sea, two hundred kilometers west of Osaka, it is famous for its canal lined with old rice warehouses. This old quarter is called the Bikan and is very well preserved example of what 17th century Japan looked like.
I had slight doubts in my first moments there: the tourists in canoes and the wedding pictures being shot right by our ryokan door left me perplexed for a minute. Was it too pretty? Was it fake?
Well, as always, if you take a minute to see beyond the main center of interest, magic is bound to happen. Morning and evening are definitely the best moments to stroll the serene little streets, venture in courtyards and visit the craft shops.
We discovered a place that was full of beautiful, unassuming corners. As often in Japan, the ingredients are simple -wood, leaves and straw- but the recipe is masterful. It was a city of merchants, but the craftsmen seem to be the cause of its many charms. Has a broom or an indigo cloth ever looked that soulful?
I should probably also mention the Achi-Jinja shrine in a park above the old town. I have more photos of it, but it will have to have its own post, this one was already rather crowded!
Kurashiki seemed small to us, but it still has 500 000 inhabitants! It is one hour away by train from the bigger neighbouring city of Okayama.