Vegetarian's Japan Guide

Discover Ancient Japan at Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter

The Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter (倉敷美観地区), also known as Japan’s “Little Venice”, is a historical area comprising classical Japanese architecture with a few outside influences such as the Ōhara Museum of Art, which looks like a Greek temple. It is situated along the Kurashiki River in the Okayama Prefecture. The Kurashiki River was originally used as a canal approximately 400 years ago. With the canal surrounded by unique traditional Japanese housing, it isn’t just one of the main attractions for tourists visiting Okayama Prefecture but also a popular Japanese drama/movie shooting location!

With a variety of shops, eateries & galleries in the area, you can easily spend a whole day here without getting bored (=゚ω゚)ノ.

How to Get to the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter??

It is just a 10-minute walk from JR Kurashiki Station (倉敷駅)!

Click HERE for the official Kurashiki Walking Map with information about shops, museums, and most importantly, restrooms!!!

Tip: Instead of following Google Maps, we recommend walking past the local shopping streets to experience the local atmosphere (and some pre-shopping, of course (≧▽≦)).

After you get off at the JR Kurashiki Station, head to Ebisu Dori Shotengai/Ebisu Street Shopping Street (えびす通り商店街). Ebisu Dori Shotengai is connected with Hon Dori Shotengai/Main Street Shopping Street (本通り商店街), so you can follow that pathway to the end of Hon Dori Shotengai. Once you reach the end, you will be able to see the beautiful white Japanese traditional housing and the willow trees along the edge of the canal!

Important: Many shops and restaurants in Kurashiki Bikan Quarter are closed on Mondays.

A List of Attractions in Kurashiki

Tenryō Coffee Shop

Kurashiki-Coffee-Shop-Tenryo-Coffee
Click the photo to find out more about this coffee shop!

When you visit Kurashiki, don’t forget to grab a cup of coffee and even a few packed freshly roasted beans to take home with you before you head to the famous Bikan Historical Quarter from Tenryō Coffee Shop (天領倉敷珈琲)!

Just a 5-minute walk from JR Kurashiki Station, you will easily spot this small but unique European-style coffee shop.

For more information about this lovely place, please refer to our Tenryo Coffee Shop article!

Tourist Information Center – Kurashikikan (倉敷館)

When you first arrive at Kurashiki Bikan Quarter, you find the white building next to a little bridge for more tourist information!

It is open daily between 9 am and 6 pm but note that business hours might differ between the end of December and early January.

You will also be able to purchase tickets for Kurashiki Bune Nagashi (Kurashiki River Boat Tour) here (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Tip: If you have already bought too many things on your way to Bikan Areas, light up yourself with the coin-operated lockers here!

Kurashikikan Okayama Japan

Facilities at Tourist Information Center

  • Ground level: Information counter, rest area, coin lockers, toilet, sales counter for Kurashiki River Boat Tour
  • Second level: Rest area, breastfeeding room, diaper changing table

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter.

Kurashiki Denim Kimono Rental at Kurashiki Kimono Komachi (倉敷着物小町)

Ⓒ Okayama Tourism Federation

Heard of a denim kimono? Dress in one before you pose in more photos and continue your adventure around Kurashiki Bikan Quarters!

Kojima district, located in the southwest of Kurashiki City, is Japan’s denim mecca. The Japanese denim is of quality so great that people are willing to pay more than $300 for a pair!

Here at Kurashiki Kimono Komachi (倉敷着物こまち), you will be able to experience this uncommon fusion. With just 6,050 yen, you will also be able to enjoy all that Okayama Prefecture has to offer (the denim and the Japanese culture). Click HERE for more information!

Kurashiki River Boat Tour (くらしき川舟流し)

To fully experience the Kurashiki Bikan Area, the Kurashiki River Boat Tour is one of the many attractions you can not miss out on!!!

Board the boat to experience the Edo period atmosphere and get your photos of the Bikan area from a different perspective!

  • It is a 20-minute tour that operates on a 30-minute interval.
  • Get your ticket from Kurashikikan.
  • No pets are allowed.
  • Max number of people on board is 6 people.

Important: Please don’t be late as your tickets will be forfeited!

Kurashiki River Boat Tour
Ⓒ chechanie @ Pixabay
  • Tour Operating Hours between March and November: 9:30 – 17:00 daily except the 2nd Monday of each month.
  • Tour Operating Hours between December and February: 9:30 – 17:00 on weekends and Japanese public holidays.
  • Price: 500 yen for adults and 250 yen for children. Children under the age of 5 are free!

If the tour is canceled due to rain, strong wind, or tourist events, you can get a refund from Kurashikikan during its business hours (refer to above).

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter.

Ōhara Museum Of Art (大原美術館)

Ohara Museum of Art Kurashiki Bikan Quarter
Ⓒ Kengo Itou @ Pixabay

When you walk around Kurashiki Bikan Areas, it is hard to miss the Greek temple-styled building. Ōhara Museum of Art is Japan’s first privately owned Western Art Museum. More recently, it exhibits works of Eastern artists as well.

Due to the value of the collections in the museum, the American fighter pilots were explicitly instructed to avoid bombing Kurashiki during WWII!

The museum was first opened in 1930 by Magosaburō Ōhara (大原 孫三郎). In the main building, you will find works by famous artists such as Gauguin, Degas, Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, and even Pollock.

Find out more HERE about the collections that you will be able to see when you visit the Ohara Museum of Art!

The gardens in the museum are also very eye-catching. There are various statues crafted by many world-renowned artists waiting to be admired! (=゚ω゚)ノ

Ōhara Museum of Art’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • Ōhara Museum of Art is open from 9 am to 5 pm except for Mondays and between the 28th – 31st of December
    • The last admission at 16:30 daily
    • If Monday is a Japanese public holiday, the museum will be opened
    • Also, refer to the days marked in green on the calendar HERE. The museum won’t open on these days
  • 1,500 yen for adult
  • 500 yen for elementary to high school students

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter.

Shinkei-En (新渓園)

Ⓒ Okayama Tourism Federation

The Shinkei-En, next to the Ōhara Museum Of Art, is another point of interest in relation to the Ōhara family.

This villa was built in 1893 in celebration of the 60th birthday of Kōshirō Ōhara, the first president of Kurabo Industries Ltd. (倉敷紡績). After Magosaburō Ōhara took over the family business, he gifted this villa to Kurashiki City for the local residents to enjoy!

Entry to the facility is free. However, not all areas are open each day. Please refer to the noticeboard at the entrance to confirm if any areas are closed to the public for the day (refer to the photo above).

Apart from the well-maintained Japanese garden that was designed by a famous designer at the time, you will want to spend some time at the Great Hall – Keikendō (敬倹堂) if it isn’t rented out for events.

You really don’t get that many chances to enter a hall that is as big as the size of 56 tatami mats!

Ⓒ Okayama Tourism Federation

One tatami mat is about 0.9 m by 1.8 m but varies slightly depending on the region.

From late February to early March, there will be 30 sets of Hina Dolls on display as part of the Kurashiki Hina Matsuri Festival (倉敷雛めぐり). If you are going to visit Kurashiki during this time of the year, Shinkei-En is definitely a place you want to add to your itinerary!

Shinkei-En’s Opening Hours and Access Information

  • Shinkei-En is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily except for the 29th of December to the 3rd of January
  • It is free to enter Shinkei-En

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter.

Get Happiness from Yuurin-an Cafe

Are you hungry yet? Want to get some special memories from your trip to Kurashiki Bikan Quarter?

Come to Yuurin-an (有鄰庵)!

Their desserts are very cute, and one of the dishes comes with unlimited rice! At the cafe, you can also have a great cultural Japanese experience!

Yuurin-An Cafe Kurashiki Okayama Japan

Click HERE for more information about how to obtain happiness for you and your friends and families (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Kurashiki Archaeological Museum (倉敷考古館)

Kurashiki Archaeological Museum Okayama Japan

Opposite the Kurashikikan (Kurashiki Tourist Information center) and next to the Nakahashi Bridge in the Bikan area, you will find this house with black and white bricks, called the Kurashiki Archaeological Museum. There, you will be able to learn about the history of Okayama Prefecture.

It has a suite of collections and artifacts from the Paleolithic period to the Kamakura period (1192 – 1333) as well as the Muromachi period (1336 – 1573). These historical periods were when the first emergence of samurai began, the warrior caste, and the establishment of feudalism in Japan.

You can check out pictures of what is on exhibits HERE. Though unfortunately, there is not yet an English version.

Kurashiki Archaeological Museum’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • Kurashiki Archaeological Museum is open from 9 am to 5 pm daily from Wednesday to Sunday
    • The last admission at 16:30 daily except Mondays and Tuesdays and between the 27th of December to the 2nd of January
    • If Monday or Tuesday is a Japanese public holiday, the museum will still close on the next business day instead
  • The admission fee is
    • 500 yen for adult
    • 400 yen for senior high school and university students
    • 300 yen for elementary and junior high school students
    • Access to special exhibitions will incur additional expenses

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter.

Japanese Folk Toy Museum (日本郷土玩具館)

Ⓒ Okayama Tourism Federation

When you stroll beside the canal, you might walk past a traditional white Japanese housing. This building houses a large display of Japanese Folk Toys.

The Japanese Folk Toy Museum has around 30,000 folk toy collections from various regions and times of Japan (from the 1600s to the present time). The building was actually a rice granary back in the Edo Era, which is why the display rooms aren’t as big as you might expect.

Check out a display room HERE. You will be amazed!!

The best thing about this museum is that you won’t need to pay to walk around its courtyard, terrace, and gallery. It is only inside the museum that you will need to pay for admission.

Japanese Folk Toy Museum’s Opening Hours, Admission Fees, and Access Information

  • Japanese Folk Toy Museum is open from 10 am to 5 pm daily except on the 1st of January
    • The last admission is at 4 pm
  • The admission fee is
    • 500 yen for adult
    • 300 yen for high school and university students
    • Free otherwise

Please click HERE for each area’s business hours in detail.

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter.

Kurashiki Denim Street (倉敷デニムストリート)

Ⓒ Okayama Tourism Federation

Kojima District, which is around 40 minutes away by train from JR Kurashiki Station is the origin of Japan’s denim industry.

If you don’t have time to admire the panorama view of the Seto Ōhashi Bridge (瀬戸大橋) and the Seto Inland Sea or have your free cosplay session at the Kojima Student Uniforms, then at least drop by this part of the Bikan Quarter for some denim shopping and enjoy some dark blue colored ice cream or light meal (=゚ω゚)ノ.

The Kurashiki Denim Street is just a one-minute walk from the Japanese Folk Toy Museum!

Local Farmers’ Market at Kurashiki Shopping Streets

There are quite a few shopping streets around JR Kurashiki Station.

Currently, from 8 to 11 am on the 3rd Sunday of each month, there are farmers’ markets offering fresh local produce and processed food made by smaller local businesses.

If you plan to come to Kurashiki on a day when the market would open, why not get up a bit early and do a treasure hunt around the station? (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter.

Nighttime Wonderland at Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter

Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter during the day is awesome, but at night-time, it is even better with the pretty lights scattered about the area!

If you have already spent money and made the effort to come to Kurashiki Bikan Quarter to appreciate the beauty of the area, why not spend the night here as well? There will be fewer tourists and more space for yourself (=゚ω゚)ノ.

Kurashiki Bikan Quarter Night Time
Ⓒ Okayama Tourism Federation

Check out this article for the best accommodations at Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter!

Festivals, Cherry Blossom, and Autumn Foliage Season at Kurashiki Bikan Quarter

Ⓒ Okayama Tourism Federation
  • Kurashiki Hina Matsuri Festival (倉敷雛めぐり) and Kurashiki Haruyo Akari (倉敷春宵あかり): from late February to early March
    • In 2022, the dates are from the 12th to the 21st of March
  • Cherry blossom: from late March to early April
  • Autumn foliage: from mid to late November

Vegetarian Dining at Kurashiki Bikan Quarter

Find out more information on some vegetarian-friendly restaurants with our article that you will enjoy with your non-vegetarian friends and families!

Click HERE to get back to a list of attractions in Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter.

Find out more Attractions in the Greater Kurashiki City

In addition to the attractions we have introduced above, there are many more places in the greater Kurashiki City that might interest you.

Refer to our article on Kurashiki City for more travel ideas!

Kurashiki-Moneybox-Museum-Okayama-Japan
Click the photo to find out more information about where else to visit close by!

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