Kurashiki is a small, charming and quite unique town located in sunny Okayama prefecture (less than one hour away from both Osaka/Kyoto and Hiroshima), and a short ferry ride away from Naoshima Art Island. Craftsmanship has flourished here for centuries, especially pottery, sake brewing and tatami rug making. A stroll in the central Bikan district is an experience not to be missed. A well preserved area steeped in history, it is forbidden to construct anything here that does not comply with the traditional white and black kura style that the style artisan houses and warehouses were built in. ‘Bikan’ means, “beautiful to look at” – and it lives up to its name. This type of district cannot be found in such an organic, well preserved state anywhere else in Japan. Narrow lanes, shopping streets, canals lined by willows. Simply blissful pleasures!
Owing to its proximity to a number of larger cities, Bikan can be visited as a day trip, but pairing the visit with an overnight stay at Ryokan Kurashiki is highly recommended. This small deluxe ryokan (5 suites) is located in the heart of Bikan district and gives the clients a chance to sleep in a well preserved kura style house where delicious kaiseki meals are made with Okayama’s bountiful produce.