Bikan district of Kurashiki
Location of Kurashiki in Okayama Prefecture
|• Mayor||Kaori Itō|
|• Total||355.63 km2 (137.31 sq mi)|
|Population (March 31, 2017)|
|• Density||1,400/km2 (3,500/sq mi)|
|Time zone||Japan Standard Time (UTC+9)|
|City hall address||640 Nishinakashinden, Kurashiki-shi, Okayama-ken
The modern city of Kurashiki was founded on April 1, 1928. Previously, it was the site of clashes between the Taira and Minamoto clans during the Heian period. It gradually developed as a river port. During the Edo period, it became an area directly controlled by the shogunate. Distinctive white-walled, black-tiled warehouses were built to store goods. During the Meiji Restoration (Japan's Industrial Revolution period), factories were built, including the Ohara Spinning Mill, which still stands as the nostalgic tourist attraction Ivy Square.
Kurashiki is the home of Japan's first museum for Western art, the Ohara Museum of Art. Established in 1930 by Magosaburō Ōhara, it contains paintings by El Greco, Monet, Matisse, Gauguin, and Renoir. The collection also presents fine examples of Asian and contemporary art. The main building is designed in the style of Neoclassicism.
The old merchant quarter is called the Bikan historical area. It contains many fine examples of 17th century wooden warehouses (kura, 倉) painted white with traditional black tiles, along a canal framed with weeping willows and filled with koi. The area has no electric poles in order to make it more closely resemble the look of the Meiji period. One of the city's former town halls was located in the Kurashiki Kan, a European style building constructed in 1917.
The city is home to several private universities and one public university.
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