One of Japan’s many beautiful cities, Kurashiki, is about halfway between Hiroshima and Osaka, in Okayama Prefecture. Kurashiki, roughly translated as “city of storehouses”, was once a famous rice distribution centre. Today, it is better-known for its historical district, with gorgeous canals that date back to the Edo period.
This serene district contrasts with the area immediately around Kurashiki station, an energetic hub of restaurants and shops frequented by uniform-clad students. Away from the neon signs so ubiquitous in this tech-savvy country, one can always find Japan’s zen side if they look hard enough.
I even enjoyed one of many unexpected moments of kindness. I paused to admire pottery outside the storefront of a Turkish man importing goods from his home country. He invited me to enjoy a cup of tea, we chatted for some time, and eventually I was invited to come back that evening and share dinner with his family!
After the sun set (this was in the middle of Ramadan) we tucked into a flavourful salad and fresh sabasandos (baguette sandwiches with fried saba fish). These lovely people even advised me to follow a different route from what I’d initially planned, and heading south to visit Washuzan (dragon’s head mountain) and watch the sun set.
The next morning, I followed a cycling path that started inside an abandoned train station, passed through a scenic fishing village, and made its way towards ‘dragon’s head mountain’. But that’s a story for another time…