BIKAN-CHIKU HISTORICAL QUARTER
The “Bikan-Chiku”, or Bikan Historical Quarter, is a well-preserved river shipping port where merchants would load and unload goods into warehouses. The beautiful white-walled warehouses have been repaired and preserved, and many are now souvenir shops, museums, coffee shops, specialty shops and boutiques.
Many of the buildings date to the Edo period, providing visitors with a sense of old time Japan. Enjoy shopping, riding a canal boat, or being taken for a jaunt in a traditional rickshaw. There are some must-see locations here, including the Ohara Museum of Art, the Kurashiki Museum of Folkcraft, and the Japanese Folk Toy Museum. The picturesque tree-lined Kurashiki River is another important sightseeing spot in the district.
The borders of the Bikan area are somewhat undefined. If you start out from Kurashiki Station and walk toward the main shopping arcade, you will start to notice a change in the scenery as you proceed southward. The shop facades start to look more historic until you find yourself right in the middle of this internationally known section of Kurashiki.
There are several interesting facets to the Bikan Historical Quarter. Firstly, it is a residential community where people live out their daily lives in perfectly preserved Edo era dwellings, unchanged and protected by a city ordinance. Secondly, there is a roughly three to four block area with a high concentration of colorful shops which showcase products unique to Kurashiki. Thirdly, there is a backstreet labyrinth of roads with a host of hidden pubs and restaurants.
The Bikan-Chiku Historical Quarter is located in what is still the heart of this great city. City Hall is only a few kilometers away from the structure that formerly housed it. The latticed walls of the merchant houses along the Kurashiki River are like an anchor to the past, reminding visitors today of the effort that went into building this wonderful part of the city.
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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