Ivy Square is surrounded by a tall, long red brick wall which has green ivy creeping all over it. It used to be the home of Kurashiki Textile Company called ‘Kurabo’ but now is the art and craft center. Locals and tourists come here for a number of reasons. You can take a ceramics class, learn to make candles, try your hand at making Kurashiki pottery, spend time learning the skills to master old traditional toys and even make them if want to. There is an art or craft lesson to cater for the spare time you have and your skill level.
Ivy Square is also home to an old style hotel which boosts to have one of the best restaurants in Kurashiki. If you are used to fine dining then the food, atmosphere and views will be worth spending that extra yen.
As you can see in these pictures, the courtyard space is very large and during the warmer seasons of spring, summer or early fall there are many events and festivals happening. Some people spend the whole day sitting in the outdoor café area people watching, eating, drinking, meeting friends and if you are lucky enough you might be able to witness a Japanese wedding ceremony.
Often the wedding ceremony moves from the hotel reception area across to Bikan Chiku (area) river where the bride and groom hop onto a small row boat which carries them down the river, under the old willow trees to a popular spot where photos of the happy couple will be taken.
Ivy Square is also where you will be able to buy a variety of unique products from Kurashiki or Okayama. The shops are small and quaint but you will find that it takes a lot of time to see and appreciate everything these small spaces have to offer. The shop owners are always willing to chat with you and learn about your home countries and what brings you to visit Japan and Kurashiki City. Expect to be given great service and maybe exchange names and addresses because people here are really interested in getting to know you.
This is probably one of the BEST reasons why you should venture into the smaller regions in Japan. People are interested in talking and getting to know you.