Delight in views, cruise and delectable seafood on the south coast of Honshu
Rugby World Cup 2019 Travel Guide: Kurashiki
Take in the view from Mount Washu. It’s a 40-minute bus ride from Kurashiki Station and at the summit you can bask in the scenery of Setonaikai Park and the Great Seto Bridge, which links the Okayama and Kagawa prefectures as well as Japan’s main island of Honshu with Shikoku.
The view also encompasses around 50 islands that dot the Seto Inland Sea.
Take a river cruise by punting boat through the Bikan Historical Quarter, which is a Japanese heritage site. The townscape is unusual, featuring traditional Japanese buildings with white walls from the Edo Period, while willow trees line the banks of the Kurashiki River.
There’s plenty to do on land too – the Ohara Museum of Art, Kurashiki Museum of Folkcraft and the Archaeological Museum.
Here’s a quick history lesson: in the 1600s, a decree came into force in Okayama stating that only a single dish should be on the dining table. The locals rebelled against this idea by creating a tiered box where they would put rice on the top but if you flipped it over there would be a feast of sushi! You can still enjoy kakushi sushi (hidden sushi) in the area, which boasts lots of fresh fish.
WORLD CUP VISIT
Kobe, which is staging four games, is the nearest venue, but Kurashiki – located between Osaka and Hiroshima – is also easily accessible from other major cities in Japan. The mixture of Japanese and Western architecture makes it a popular tourist destination, with more than 3.5m people visiting each year.
Related: Rugby World Cup venues
By train, Kurashiki is three-and-a-half hours from Tokyo, one hour from Kobe and two hours from Fukuoka.
DID YOU KNOW?
Kurushaki is known as the birthplace of jeans in Japan and there is an entire street dedicated to denim. As well as several shops selling denim, Kojima Jeans Street has myriad pairs of jeans hanging above it and you can also buy denim blue ice cream.
If you’re in the area on the third Sunday of the month, get up early and head to Sansai-ichi, a market in front of the Kurashiki Station that opens at 8am and sells folk crafts as well as local food.