Formerly an independent town, Mabi became part of Kurashiki City in 2005, adding to the city’s beauty and cultural heritage. Located inland on the border of Yakage Town, its residents form a close-knit community representing all walks of life. Perhaps the town’s most famous native son best illustrates its importance to Japanese history as a whole. Kibi-no-Makibi was a Nara period scholar and political figure, who among his many accomplishments, spent seventeen years in China. He traveled there in the 8th century during China’s Tang dynasty. He is a testament to the deep rooted cultural exchange that has mutually benefited the two countries.
Kibi-no-Makibi is often credited with inventing the katakana script that is used to write foreign words in Japanese, although there is some debate surrounding this. There is a park commemorating the life of this this great ambassador for Japan with a statue of the man and a monument dedicated to the founding of the script. Bamboo groves are so plentiful in Mabi that their presence has spawned two developments. One is a cuisine featuring bamboo shoots and the other is an entire industry built around products made from bamboo.
There are many ways to connect with Mabi Town but perhaps the most intimate is a stay at the town’s Utsukushi Mori. Camp or stay in a bungalow in the middle of pristine nature. This park reserve has been set aside to allow visitors access to a safe environment in which to enjoy nature. There are several cottages for rent as well as a camping area.The park is also used by locals as an event venue. In 2018, Mabi Town endured the calamities caused by days of unusually heavy rain and the repeated flooding of nearby rivers. The resilience of the townspeople has sparked a recovery that continues at a steady pace.
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