It has been rather a long time since I visited the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter, a charming district which still retains the vestiges of its former days.
Back in the Edo period, this was a very prosperous area, used as a place for goods storage under the direct control of the Shogunate. These days, it prospers from tourism, being famous for its richly emotional streetscape and retro-modern atmosphere. Vistors come here to see its white-walled warehouses, distinctive tiled Namako walls with heavy, exaggerated joints, and the willow trees lining the banks of the river.
During the day, the area is bustling with people, but most of the facilities in the area close after 5:00pm. With the visitors having departed, in the evening the old town becomes quiet, as if the tide has receded. While the Bikan Historical Quarter is beautiful during the daytime, it is even more attractive at night: the landscape lighting illuminates the entire district with soft sweet light, creating a vista that stands out against a dark background.
The trees and lights, boats and buildings are reflected on the surface of the Kurashiki River with fantastic and mysterious shimmering reflections. This landscape lighting is said to have been created by world-famous lighting designer Motoko Ishii. If you have a chance, I would like you to come to enjoy the romance and poetry of Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter at night.
Bikan Historical Quarter is about a ten-minute walk south from JR Kurashiki station, on the Sanyo Main line and the Hakubi line, or from Kurashiki-shi station on the Mizushima line. It's just a short seventeen-minute ride on the local JR train from Okayama station.
If you're coming by car, it's about 20 minutes from Kurashiki Interchange on the Sanyo Expressway, or Hayashima Interchange on Seto-Chuo Expressway