Kurashiki City - Honmachi Street

The center of Kurashiki’s cultural area

By Kenji Chida    - 2 min read

Kurashiki Honmachi is the center of Kurashiki’s cultural area. It intersects with the historically preserved Bikan area. Here the streets and storefronts are maintained to reflect old Japan through strict city ordinances that require owners to maintain the traditional structures in the area.

Much of Kurashiki and the Bikan area as we see it today is the result of massive land reclamations that took place during the Edo period (1603-1868). Honmachi is one of those places where you walk around and imagine where the water might have been. Here you will discover quaint souvenir shops with unique gifts from the area and you will find coffee shops, cafes, sake makers and guest houses.

I live in Okayama City, which is only about twenty kilometers away, but I decided to take my family to Kurashiki and stay for the night. I had been there doing the usual sightseeing during the day but I’d never experienced the area at night. Cities often have dual personalities and I wondered if Kurashiki was the same. We got there around 8 o’clock so it was fully dark and the first thing I noticed was that at night Honmachi is less about tourism and more about nightlife. Most of the usual tourist areas are closed but the restaurants and bars are open.

Young people vie for position to attract interest in their fashionable clothing and automobiles. Business people check into their hotels and locals go to their favorite restaurants. I could hear young exchange students in large groups speaking Korean. I tried to soak up as much of the city’s flavor as I could.

It was so busy that finding a hotel that could accommodate a large family without a reservation proved difficult. Finally we got two rooms in a mid-level hotel a few steps from the main road that runs down to Kurashiki Station.

I was surprised as we went out for a snack, walking in the direction of the station, that there was no shortage of streetwalkers and hawkers calling out to passersby on the street. Suddenly a young woman yells something about an SM bar she was going to. All of this crammed together in this one small historical area.

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Kenji Chida

Kenji Chida @kenji.chida

I was born and raised in Baltimore City, Maryland in the USA after which I moved to New York City at the age of 21. I lived, studied and worked in New York for five years then moved to Okayama in 1998 at the age of 26. After living in Japan for 5 years I decided to try to naturalize. I was granted Japanese citizenship at the age of 33. I am interested in education, political philosophy, and Japanese society. I enjoy playing softball with my kids, driving and motorcycles. I can't say I enjoy running but I often join local 5k races. I want more people from abroad to come to Japan for a visit and I hope that some portion of that group decides to stay. Japan is for everyone!

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honjoumana 9 years ago
I like old fashionaed streets very much. It will go for Kurashiki City later on.
However,it feels that the person who isn't known speaks to be unpleasant. I want to take as reliable a safe trip as possible.It will be surprised if it is invited forcibly suddenly.
kana 9 years ago
Kurashiki Honmachi is interesting area.I live in Hiroshima,so,Kurashiki is not far from here.But,I don`t have visited.I am from a deserted town.I have longing for the spirited town.If I possible,Iwant to visit Kurashiki Honmachi.
mei 9 years ago
I have never been Kurashiki City-Honmachi street. So I want to go to there. I want to go to a coffee shop , sake maker , guest houses and I want to buy unique gift.
Also , I want to go Kurashiki City-Honmachi street at night because I have never been bar.
sacchan 9 years ago
I think Bikan area is very important history during the Edo period.
I was surprised that Honmachi has various shops, hotels, restaurants.
I'm especially interested in quaint souvenir shops.
I have been to Honmachi Street in the day time,but I haven't been there in the nighttime.
So I want so badly to go there in the nighttime.
inasen 9 years ago
I knew Honmachi street for the first time.And,I interested this street is connected with history.Then, I interesthing this street's souvenir.I want delicious food. I want to go Kurashiki city!