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Kurashiki 倉敷

This city located in Okayama Prefecture contains a preserved canal area from the Edo era. Now, there are museums, shops, and exhibition in the former storehouses along the canal.

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It's a lame but calm place must visit. That's also a lot of souvenir shop with good price along side the canal.

For those of you wondering what there is to do in Kurashiki, the city has a neighbourhood by the name of Bikan preserved as it was in the Edo Period. The buildings in Kurashiki are traditional Japanese storehouses known as ‘kura’, hence the name of the city. Kura were used to store only precious items, like rice or sutras, and started appearing as early as the Yayoi Period. There are many types of kura storehouses, the ones we find in Kurashiki are known as ‘earthen kura’. These types of constructions usually have a wooden structural frame with the walls being covered in clay and coated with plaster in order to make them fireproof. In Kurashiki we can see two different styles of tiling: laid diagonally and fixed with white plaster to keep them in place — this style of tiling is called ‘namako’ (literally ‘sea cucumber’ because of the rounded plaster) — and horizontal tiles. I think the tiling is to protect the walls from damage since the clay isn’t too strong.

Today, many of these old storehouses have been turned into museums and shops. In all honesty I wasn’t sure if I’d like Kurashiki too much since it seemed to be a more touristy area but, although it was touristy, many of the people there preferred to do some shopping while I was completely alone in the museums I went to. I enjoyed Kurashiki very much and it's one of my favourite places in Japan.

This area is so peaceful and beautiful. It reminded me of water towns in Shanghai. I highly recommend going to Mamekichi http://mame-kichi.jp/

The shop is super tiny and tucked away but it has great flavored bean snacks. Sounds weird but trust me they taste great. Try all the free samples until you find your favorite.

Also, Kurashiki Ivy Square is a great spot. The area was formerly a cotton mill and now has a number of different shops.

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