Kurashiki (倉敷), Takamatsu (高松) and Okayama (岡山)

The following pictures are from a day trip that a friend and I went on January 9, 2011 to Kurashiki (倉敷), Takamatsu (高松) and Okayama (岡山). The reason for this trip was because I had 2 times remaining on the 5 day non-consecutive local train pass (stops at every stop) called the Seishin 18 Kippu (青春18きっぷ) and I had to use it before the pass expired. Due to being located in such an isolated area such as Hiroshima, the closest interesting day trip via local train were to these 3 cities.

After around 2 hours on the train we arrived in Kurashiki where the main attraction is the preserved canal area that retains the atmosphere of "old Japan".


Location of the three places we went with respect to the map of Japan.

View 2011-01-09 Kurashiki, Takamatsu, Okayama in a larger map

There weren't many tourists as this is maybe a "3rd tier" tourist destination (i.e., unless you lived nearby, you wouldn't go out of your way to come here).




This antique shop caught my eye because of all the dog statues on the roof...


More of the side streets.


It wouldn't be a Japanese tourist attraction without the requisite "special local food" souvenir shops.


One thing I still don't understand is why they love trimming all the trees here so that there is nothing left but a giant stub. I see leaf-less, branch-less trees all the time in Japan...


According to the tourist guides, the Ohara Museum is the oldest Western art museum in Japan.


The canal area. A mixture of traditional Japanese and European styles...


After 1-2 hours in the preserved area, it was time to leave for our next stop of Takamatsu on the island of Shikoku. One of the four main islands of Japan, the others being the more well known Hokkaido, Kyushu and Honshu (the main island).


Interesting plaza on the north side of Kurashiki station.


To go to Takamatsu, we had to change trains at Okayama and then cross the Inland Sea via the Seto Ohashi Bridge, the longest double deck bridge system in the world. The top deck is for cars and the bottom deck has 2 railway tracks.

We actually got a great view of the inland sea from the train, too bad I didn't take more (good) pictures.



You could get a clear view of the heavy industries of Japan, Inc. from the bridge.



What surprised me was how "clean and tidy" these heavy industries are.


Arrival in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture on Shikoku island. Because Takamatsu is close to the area famous for the "sanuki" udon noodles, we had udon noodles for lunch. Unfortunately I did not take any pictures because it just looked like regular udon to me.


The harbour area of Takamatsu. Here you can really see the rough waters of the Inland Sea.


The skyline of Takamatsu.


On of the attractions of Takamatsu, the castle (which are quite small).


The downtown area of Takamatsu. Unlike other cities in Japan, this city actually has an attractive covered arcade.


After a couple of hours, it was time to leave Takamatsu for Okayama.


Arrival in Okayama after 1 hour on the train from Takamatsu. Its amazing how that piece of infrastructure can connect 2 cities so physically apart. Technically you could live in Takamatsu and commute to work in Okayama if you wanted to!


After walking around Okayama where there was nothing interesting to see and hence no photos, we walked to Okayama Castle. It was getting late and the attraction was closed for the day so all I could do was take a photo to "proof" that I was there. And this concluded our day trip.


As anyone who has traveled around Japan knows, almost every city looks the same with the exception of a few cities. Kurashiki, Takamatsu and Okayama unfortunately, in my opinion, falls into the category of "generic modern Japanese city". That is to say, a one time visit is enough.