Located in the Bikan Historical District, Achi Shrine plays an active part in the lives of local residents. With festivals and other events throughout the year, it is a good place for an introduction to Shinto or “the Way of the Gods”.
The shrine is charged with ensuring road and maritime safety, beauty and health, the arts and commerce. This may seem like a lot to place on one institution but when you look at Kurashiki past and present, it makes perfect sense.
The city has been and continues to be a cultural and commercial pioneer in the prefecture with several industries leading the way to prosperity. Land and sea transport are also vital to daily life in Kurashiki and Achi Shrine plays an important role in lending a feeling of security and continuity.
From late April to early May, view the lovely wisteria flowers that are draped over trellises within the shrine complex. This area has been recognized as a prefectural natural treasure since 1956 and is the site of an annual wisteria festival that is held during the first week of May.
Each year in late October, there is a fall festival that consists of a procession of 200 traditionally dressed participants through the streets of Kurashiki. Starting off at 7am, they carry a portable shrine as they move along a set 12 kilometer course.
One of the highlights of the event is the cruise of the three goddesses along the Kurashiki River from 10:50-11:05. Dressed in white gowns with their hair done in a regal style, they are a special sight on the tree-lined canal.
The festival includes a number of performances and activities throughout the day with the culmination of the event taking place at Achi Shrine.
Although Achi Shrine is a welcoming place at any time of the year, festivals offer the perfect opportunity to interact with the local community and have fun at the same time.
Access: It is about a 12-13 minute walk from JR Kurashiki Station.
About the Area
Kurashiki is the second largest city in Okayama Prefecture by population and is arguably its cultural center.The Bikan Historical Quarter, which is home to the Ohara Museum of Art, has become an international travel destination.
Kurashiki City is made up of several districts, many of which used to be independent towns. As a visitor, the air of independence and cultural distinction are palpable.
Kojima is the textile producing are of the city and is known as the birthplace of the Japanese jeans industry. There are factories, factory outlets and retailers galore.
Tamashima is a historic port town with a beautifully preserved merchant house district. It is also an important ship building area and fruit producer.
Mabi Town is an agricultural region that is also a center for light manufacturing. A town with a rich history, it is the reputed birthplace of the Nara period scholar and minister Kibi-no-Makibi.
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