Tamashima is located about 20 minutes from downtown Kurashiki City. It is an area that has a long history of being a prosperous port town and main merchant capital of the old Bitchu province. The Bitchu province dates to the 17th century when present day Okayama Prefecture was once divided into three distinct provinces: Bizen to the east, Mimasaka to the north, and Bitchu to the west.
One of the outstanding features of the city is system of canals, which date back to the Edo era. There are a series of benches and open spaces along them that are ideal for birdwatching or just relaxing.
Tamashima was a major hub for ships carrying rice and other products from Kyushu to Edo (the old capital of Japan; currently the Tokyo area) and Hokkaido through to Kyushu. It was also the end destination for products coming down the Takahashi River from the northern parts of Tottori Prefecture, on to Niimi City in the northern part of Okayama Prefecture, then down through Takahashi City to Soja City and finally arriving in Tamashima.
Many reminders of the district’s historical importance are still present in the old township streets. The old Sanyo road that the shogunate traveled from Kyushu to Edo served as the main passageway; this road and many of the businesses that operated 350 years ago are still standing today.
Tamashima is now a collection of modern living and industry but unlike the larger historical cities of Japan, you will be able to wander around this sleepy port town and discover the architecture of the Edo period, visit merchant houses that produce sake, soy sauce, washi paper, and taste the local food. Tamashima invites you to experience an area away from the crowds and offers you the ability to talk with people living their lives as they did hundreds of years ago.