Kurashiki (倉敷市; -shi) is a historic city located to the west of Okayama, Japan, sitting on the Takahashi River, on the coast of the Inland Sea. During the Edo period, Kurashiki was a place of storage for rice that was harvested from the neighbouring region. This place was like a rice port. If you can imagine how in the olden days, how the rice farmers would carry each sack of rice harvested with their own sweat and blooding, coming to Kurashiki for storage, it would actually tug some heartstrings and admiration for them.
The storehouses still stands today, picturesquely along the stream lined with willow trees along the historical canal area. There is even a merchant’s house open for public viewing called the Ohashi House. You can definitely see the structure of history within these confines.
Okayama (岡山市; -shi) is the capital city of Okayama Prefecture in the Chūgoku region of Japan.
The city is known as the site of the Korakuen Garden and the striking black Okayama Castle; which is a modern reconstruction. The popular Japanese folktale of Momotaro may have originated there.
Sogenji is a very large zen monastery belonging to the Rinzai sect in the centre of the city. It has produced several of the abbots of the major monasteries in Kyoto and is now a training centre for foreign paractitioners.
Okayama is one of few Japanese cities to have kept an operational tram system. It is a major rail interchange as trains from Shikoku connect with the Sanyō main line here.
So, if you are at Okayama for the day, do visit the garden and the black castle. It’s probably the only thing that’s worth visiting if you’re around the area. I really like the name of the castle and how it’s dark. It’s probably the most gothic monument in Japan :)