In the good old days…
Both Jason and I have been to Kurashiki before, but it’s so beautiful and we had a couple of hours to spare between leaving Hiroshima and arriving in Shimane, so when we looked for a fun stop-off, we both knew two hours would be enough to run around and make the best of this little historical city.
There is a Starbucks at the station for my daily Matcha Frappachino fix. Drink in hand, we walked the ten minutes towards the Kurashiki Bikan Historical Quarter. You can wander the little alleyways, littered with cafes and cute shops, take a stroll along the river – you can even pop on a boat ride, although I’ve heard the tours are only in Japanese – or take a look at the impressive temples and shrines.
Kurashiki City is off the beaten path, so foreigners here are few. Which is why it was very random bumping into some Germans from Berlin – the only foreigners we actually saw during our trip there. Even more of a coincidence, they were only visit because a mutual friend of ours had recommended it – the world is tiny!! On their recommendation, we hiked up to the Achi Shrine at the top of the Tsurugatayama Hill. It felt like we had gone back in time, as if a ninja would suddenly jump off the roof at us, or a samurai would come running out of the bush, sword ready for attack. Then we saw a young Japanese couple, carrying each other up the many steps to the top (she was carrying him and there was a lot of giggling) – a stark reminder that we were definitely in 2014!
I shall just share some lovely photos of the place for you to dribble over. If you don’t know where to go in Japan, this place can easily be done in a couple of hours and if you have a Japan Rail Pass, there really is no excuse for passing it up.