Kurashiki Club

Kurashiki Dolls Festival

February 21, 2015
Hina dolls are displayed to celebrate the Doll Festival, also known as Girl's Day, on March 3. All kinds of hina dolls and doll accessories from Edo-period (1603-1868), antiques, and contemporary art is displayed all over town in old houses, shopping arcades, cultural facilities, and elsewhere. Be sure to try one of the thematic meals specially prepared for the occasion. This event lasts from late February through early March.

Kojima White

January 12th, 2015
The Kojima area of Kurashiki's "Kojima White 2014" extends to the end of this month.  The event, lights a 540m stretch of road outside Kojima JR station and the square in front of the station with over 60,000 LED lights to create a beautiful and dreamy visual effect.  The lighting is on from 5pm to 10pm every day from October 25, 2014 to Jan 25, 2015 and provides a romantic atmosphere for winter evening strolls.  

The 32nd Kurashiki Komachi

The 32nd Kurashiki Komachi

Sept 23rd, 2014
Three young Kurashiki women chosen as the 32nd Kurashiki "Komachi" took up their duties at this years "Tenryo Matsuri" festival.  For the next year the three will be promoting Kurashiki City at various city events around Okayama prefecture and the rest of Japan. 

Seto Inland Sea National Park

SetoJune, 2014
It is 80 years this year since parts of the Seto Inland Sea were designated as a National Park in March, 1934.  It was, one of three locations in Japan that were the first to receive national park status and, having been expanded in the years since, it is now the largest national park in the country and encompasses over 1,000 islands.
Various events are being held in the surrounding areas this year to celebrate the anniversary. 

J2 Fagiano Soccer - "Kurashiki Day"

Fagi

August 25th, 2013
Mayor Ito today visited Okayama Kanko Stadium to support the local J2 league soccer team "Fagiano" in their match against Tochigi.  This year marks the 5th anniversary of the Fagiano teams admission to the professional J League and the 20th of the league itself.
Today was "Kurashiki Day" at the stadium.  

 
 

Let's Eat Together. 

June 18th, 2013 
FoodThumb

Kurashiki Is encouraging families to take the time to enjoy meals together.  Data shows that currently approximately 93% of families eat some of their meals together - 2% points short of the target of 95%.
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Erika Araki brings home London Olympics bronze

August 31st, 2012

Kurashiki city congratulates Erika Araki on winning bronze as captain of the Japanese woman's olympic volleyball team.  Mayor Ito presented Kurashiki-born Araki with the Kurashiki Citizens' Award of Honor at a ceremony at city hall on August 31.  Araki thanked the people of Kurashiki for their support. The win is the best result for Japanese womans' volleyball since the Los Angeles Olympics 28 years ago.  Mayor Ito expressed her hope that Araki will continue her involvement with volleyball and contribute to the development of younger Kurashiki players.

Children's Day

May 5th, 2012

Children from two local kindergartens with assistance from the Mayor raised "Koi-nobori" up the flag pole near city hall.  Koi-nobori are carp streamers which are flown in celebration of Children's day, a public holiday held on May 5th.  The streamers are flown in the hope that children will grow up healthy and strong.  These streamers are typically flown above the roofs of houses with sons, with the biggest (black) koinobori representing the father, the next biggest (red) for the mother, continuing down to the smallest carp for the youngest son.

Reelection for Mayor Ito

April 26th, 2012
 

Kurashiki Mayor, Kaori Ito was elected this month to a second 4-year term as Mayor.  Mayor Ito reafirmed her committment to communication and a bottom-up approach to city management and acknowledged a deep sense of duty to the responsibility given her by the people of the city.

 

Kurashiki Characters

February 23rd, 2012
Kurashiki City employs a number of "characters" to promote various services and campaigns these currently include, as numbered from the right:

1) Kojima Boat Races 2) Human Rights 3) The Environment 4) Recycling 5) Local Elections  6) City Tax 7) Understanding of Mental Disorders  8) The Mabi Area 9) Kurashiki Municipal Sports Festival 10) Kojima Jeans Street 11) The Kurashiki Education Center 12) Consumer Protection 13) National Health Insurance  14) Citizens' Health  15) Water Works Bureau

Baseball

December 17th
Venues for next spring's pre-season professional baseball games were announced yesterday.  The pre-season games run from February 18th to March 25th and will consist of 108 games - 6 more than last year. 

Kurashiki's 30,000 seat Muscat Stadium will be host to three matches:  Hiroshima-Giants (March 7th), Rakuten-Lotte (March 10th) and Rakuten-Nippon Ham (March 11th).   It is the first time Kurashiki has hosted more than one or two games in a season since 2006. 

As an extra point of interest for local fans, Rakuten is being coached by Kurashiki-born Senichi Hoshino.

Shopping Kurashiki

November
Mall Mascots Ari & Rio

Ari & Rio, mall mascots

 25th
Kurashiki City is quickly becoming the shopping destination for western Japan. The Ario shopping center opened today at the location of what was previously Tivoli Park. On the North side of, and immediately accessible from Kurashiki Station, the mall holds 122 shops including 68 new to Okayama prefecture. Flanked by the city's Mirai Park and the soon to be opened Mitsui Outlet Mall (housing a further 120 stores), the combination is expected to be a draw card for shoppers from all over western Japan with visitors to Kurashiki increasing from 6 million to 20 million.   1500 shoppers were queued outside for the 9a.m opening this morning.

The opening of the new mall follows closely on the heels of the expansion of the nearby Aeon Kurashiki Shopping Center. Aeon Kurashiki increased its shopping space to 82,000m in September this year becoming the largest Mall in the Chugoku / Shikoku region. These, the first major renovations since opening in 1999, added 96 new stores including 18 brands new to the region. Correspondingly, the mall expects the existing patronage of 15 million shoppers per year to increase to 20 million.

You scared the health into me

October 18
Suinkyo

Kurashiki's Achi Shrine had their Autumn festival this weekend in a weekend full of festivals.  The festival is held in hopes of a plentiful harvest.  Groups of young men and women hoisted portable shrines called "omikoshi" onto their shoulders and paraded the streets collecting donations from home and business owners in the area. 

The groups stop occassionally to enthusiastically throw and shake the shrines, giving the taiko drummer who rides inside an invigorating ride.    
 
The rather frightening Suinkyo were also on hand scaring young children with their fans.  The Suinkyo wear masks of an old women and an old man.  It is believed that children who are hit on the head by the Suinkyou's fan grow healthy and intelligent.

Typhoon 12

September 9, 2011
On September 3rd Typhoon Talas, the 12th typhoon of the Japan season, hit the mainland at Kurashiki. 

In preparation for the oncoming storm, the city opened 13 evacuation centers along the coast on the 2nd of September and the following day opened all municipal elementary and junior high schools to citizens fleeing the floodwaters.   

Officials said the storm had sustained winds of 108 kilometres per hour and gusts of 144 kilometres per hour.  In Kurashiki 339 homes reported above floor water levels with a further 3774 reporting water over the foundations. Two homes were destroyed with damage to a further 46.  Flooding across roads was reported at 163 locations.

Nationwide, some 700 houses were completely inundated by the floodwaters and about 9,500 households in nine prefectures across the nation were without power. More than 400 flights were cancelled.  

In all, the typhoon claimed the lives of 73 people (none in Okayama / Kurashiki), while 20 others remain  missing.

Kurashiki City PR YouTube Channel

August 1, 2011

Kurashiki City has its own youtube channel.  Add "KurashikiCityPR" to your favorites and stay up to date with the latest offerings in videos from Kurashiki.  Check out the following link:
 
http://www.youtube.com/user/KurashikiCItyPR

Kurashiki International Triathalon

July 13, 2011

On Sunday, July 10th over 600 athletes swam, ran, and cycled a scenic 51.5km course through the coastal area of Kojima, Kurashiki.  This, the first Kurashiki International Triathalon is a redesign of the long running Kojima Triathalon.  Click the photos below for enlargements.


  

Firefly Season

June 13, 2011

Kurashiki City continues to monitor the firefly season with the help of reports of sightings from Kurashiki citizens.  

School children throughout Japan have enjoyed the appearance of hotaru (fireflies) at this time of year for generations.  Unfortunately however, the glowing bugs are much harder to come by for today's generation compared with their grandparents time.

The hotaru require clean flowing water.  However, numbers have fallen drastically due to water pollution and concrete lining of water ways.

Tsurugata-yama wisteria

May 1st, 2011
写真:阿知の藤

The Tsurugata-yama wisteria is due to come into bloom this month. The tree is believed to be three to five hundred years old and can be found behind Achi Shrine, to the north of the Bikan historical area.   With a trunk 1.5 m in circumference (2.2m at the base) it is said to be the largest of its type in Japan. It blooms every year at the start of May with light pink clusters of flowers covering the wooden pergola which supports the plants weight. In recent years the tree has showed signs of age and has received arborist attention with good results. Effort is also being made through grafting and layering to create a second generation plant.  

The tree was designated a natural treasure by Okayama prefecture in April 1956.

Tohoku Earthquake

March 23, 2011

Kurashiki City is doing all it can to aid Eastern Japan in the aftermath of a large earthquake and tsunami which struck on March 11th. In terms of manpower, the city has dispatched disaster rescue teams and water supply teams to the area. Doctors and health workers have also been sent and the city is sending supplies including many items collected from Kurashiki citizens. The City is donating 80 million yen (US$1 million) to the relief effort and also appealing to citizens for donations.  Presently an additional 55 million yen (US$680,000) has been raised .

Update: On April 18th an initial amount of 120 million yen was distributed among 7 prefectures in the stricken area.   
Update: On June 30th an additional amount of 40 million yen was distributed among 4 prefectures.

Sister City Support

クライストチャーチ地震被害救援隊
March 3, 2011

Kurashiki City has mobilised to support sister city Christchurch, New Zealand after it was struck by a magnitude 6.3 earthquake on Tuesday, February 22nd.   Kurashiki sent a three person team including two rescue workers to assess needs and support the relief effort in Christchurch.  The team took with them 2000 surgical masks which were donated to the student army.  Kurashiki city later sent an additional 50,000 surgical masks, 1,000 waterproof sheets and 2,000 drinking containers after the team assessed and reported the needs on the ground.  Fundraising efforts by the city continue and have been boosted by a number of volunteer groups and other organisations.  The city raised and remitted almost one million yen after an initial quake in September 2010. 

Update: On March 28th the city remitted a donation of 18mil yen (NZ$286,893) collected from Kurashiki citizens including a contribution from the city.   
Update: On June 22nd the city remitted 1,552,863 yen to Christchurch (NZ$23,388)

"This is where you come to unwind, to draw breath"

NewsThumb
February 13, 2011

A picture may be worth a thousand words, but reporter Lee Langley gives Kurashiki both in a recent article for UK Newspaper The Telegraph.  Featured on The Telegraph's "Destinations" homepage, the article describes Kurashiki's Bikan area as "a picture-postcard world"

Redescovering Kurashiki after 20 years, Langley conveys with nostalgia and enthusiasm the essence and unforgettable charm of the city.  The article stands as a solid recommendation to include Kurashiki in your Japan itinerary. 

Coming of Age Ceremony

January 9, 2011

Kurashiki City held it's yearly coming of age ceremony for Kurashiki youth today.  Of the 4,700 Kurashiki young adults who turn 20 this academic year 2,743 attended the official ceremony at Muscat Stadium.   The participants gathered in their best kimono and suits in the spirt of gratitude to their parents, community, teachers and friends and with a feeling of new responsibility as they take this first step into adulthood. 

Nobel Prize for Professor Akira Suzuki

SuzukiAward
December 1, 2010  

Former professor at Kurashiki University of Science and the Arts, Akira Suzuki, is to be awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for Chemistry.  80 year old Suzuki receives the prize jointly together with Richard F. Heck and Ei-ichi Negishi "for palladium-catalyzed cross couplings in organic synthesis".  This technology is used in research worldwide, as well as in the commercial production of pharmaceuticals and molecules used in the electronics industry.

Update:  Akira Suzuki received his Nobel Prize from His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden at the Stockholm Concert Hall on December 10 2010.

Construction Underway

November 5, 2010
On the north side of Kurashiki station construction is underway at the site of Kurashiki's former Dutch theme park, Tivoli Park.  The site will become an outlet mall and shopping center with a one hectare sized city-owned park and walkway between.  The completed complex will be slightly more than half the size of Aeon Kurashiki Mall and shoppers are expected to come from as far as Shikoku and throughout the surrounding Chukoku region to shop there.  Mayor Ito hopes that many will stay to see and experience more of Kurashiki's offerings such as the Bikan area, Kojima jeans, Tamashima Tea, The Ohara Art Museum, and Fujito manju (sweet bean cakes).    Construction should be completed by Christmas 2011.

Meeting in Jeans

Jeans
Mayor Ito in Chambers 

September 17, 2010
Today was day 4 of the fourth meeting of the city assembly for 2010.  City councilors have worn denim to chambers for every day of the fourth meeting of the city assembly to promote the Kojima jeans industry.

Kurashiki prospered as a textile town in the Edo period and the Kojima area which still now is Japan's largest JeansMarkproducer of school uniforms, and working wear, is also the birthplace of Japanese denim.  The expert techniques in use there produce quality denim for highly fashionable clothing.  The city assembly provides a perfect opportunity to promote Kurashiki denim.




Green Curtain

July 30, 2010
A "Green Curtain" is a way of reducing the use of air conditioning by planting vines such as goya and morning glory in front of windows to cut down on direct sunlight.   Kurashiki city encouraged citizens to grow green curtains this year by providing seed free of charge to all those who applied at the start of summer.  The city has also lead the way by growing goya as green curtains outside windows on the ground floor of city hall.  You can follow the progress of this year's crop on this page.

Street Parade

April 9, 2010
高橋大介
Takahashi
Kurashiki city provided an opportunity for citizens to congratulate golden boy Takahashi Daisuke this week with a street parade.    Takahashi was driven through the streets in an open-top car with Mayor Kaori Ito.  Takahashi won bronze at the Vancouver Olympics and gold at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships in March becoming the first Japanese man to win a world figure skating championship. The parade ended at Kurashiki City Hall where Takahashi was presented with the Kurashiki City Award of Honor.

Bronze for Daisuke

February 22, 2010

Daisuke Takahashi
On February 18, 2010 Kurashiki-born skater Daisuke Takahashi won bronze at the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics with a score of 247.43 including a personal best in the short program of 90.25. 

The 23 year old university student, began skating at a local rink at the age of 8.  The olympic medal marks a remarkable recovery for Takahashi.  He underwent surgery to repair ligament damage due to a knee injury suffered in practice for the season of 2008-2009.  

Mayor Ito's message of congratulations to Mr. Takahashi is as follows:

"Daisuke Takahashi, congratulations on winning Japan's first ever olympic medal in men's singles figure skating!  We were all behind you.  It was a superb performance after your injury two years ago.  All the citizens of Kurashiki were cheering you on and continue to do so.  Congratulations again!". 

Kurashiki Jam

November 11, 2009
Up to 300 Jazz muscians are expected to descend on Kurashiki next month for "Kurashiki Jam."   On the weekend of December 19th the streets will be alive with the sound of Jazz for 2 days as performances are held in 14 separate locations in and around the historic bikan quarter including guest houses, a temple and the Kurashiki Art and Culture Hall.

Solar Panel Support

September 1, 2009

Solar Panels on
Elementary School Roof

Kurashiki city is taking positive action to prevent global warming and protect the environment. As an example, they are promoting the use of solar energy to home owners, taking advantage of the high sunshine hours in the prefecture. Since 2004 the city has offered financial assistance to those installing home use solar energy systems.

i-MiEV

August 1, 2009

Mitsubishi i-MiEV

Kurashiki City have added a Mitsubishi i-MiEV to its fleet of city vehicles. The i-MiEV, manufactured at the Mitsubishi plant in Kurashiki's Kojima Industrial Area is an electric car producing no exhaust fumes and the purchase represents Kurashiki's commitment to becomming a "green" local authority whilst supporting local industry.

Update: As of June 2010 the city had added an additional two electric cars and was offering all three to citizens and tourists for free, one-day rental until November 2010.

Bikan Becoming Better

June 9, 2009

Kurashiki Street

Construction work continues this month in areas around Kurashiki's Bikan Historical Quarter. Workers are moving electrical wires underground as part of a five year plan that also includes the dismantlement of part of the shopping arcade, and addition of night lighting to the Bikan Area. The plan is due to be completed in April 2010.

Swine Flu scare puts paid to international programs

May 22, 2009

Concerns for student health and safety in the face of the current spread of swine flu have lead city officials to cancel international student exchange programs planned with sister cities in America, New Zealand, and Austria. The Hosting of student groups from Kansas and Christchurch cities were planned for July and October recpectively with outgoing groups planned for the August summer vacation. In addition, a single student from Sankt Polten was due to visit a Kurashiki High school on a one month program - the first of its kind.

Update: All exchange programs resumed in 2010.

Monogatari Kan

April 30, 2009

MonogatariKan

The Kurashiki Monogatari-Kan opened on April 24th. At the entrance to the Bikan Historical Quarter, the complex is designed as a venue for local citizens and visitors to interact. With it's roofed gate and storehouse, the complex, made in the edo period style and in keeping with the atmosphere of the Bikan Area, conveys the tastes of the Edo period to contemporary visitors and offers a sense of "Kurashikiness".

 

Inside you will find a display room, japanese style rooms, multi-purpose hall, meeting room, etc. many of which are available for hire.

Farewell Tivoli

December 31, 2008

Tivoli Park

Attendance at Tivoli Park's year-end countdown tonight is expected to be greater than usual as Kurashiki prepares to farewell the Park. The Dutch theme park closes it's doors tonight after 11 years of continuous operation.

Festival Season

October 1, 2008

Festivals abound in Kurashiki. Today alone sees the International Festival at the Kurashiki Art and Culture Hall, the 'byobu' screen festival in the Bikan Historical Quarter, the 'Oni' Devil Festival in Chayamachi, and the Yaku Shrine's Autumn Festival in Tsurajima (video above).

Mayor Ito

June 19, 2008

Mayor Ito

Kurashiki Mayor, Kaori Ito, performed her first official duties today since being elected. A graduate of Tokyo University and Harvard Law School, Mayor Ito becomes one of only 18 female Mayors in Japan and, at 42 years of age, one of the youngest too.

Sister City Flowers in Bloom

May 21, 2008

Maronie

A Horse Chestnut tree planted on September 30th, 2007 at the Kurashiki Cultural and Arts Hall in commemoration of 50 years of Sister City relations between Kurashiki and Sankt Polten bloomed for the first time this year. It is covered in beautiful pink flowers. One wonders whether the cherry blossom tree planted at the same time in Sankt Polten is also in bloom. Here's hoping that both trees will continue to grow just as the friendship between the two cities.

Spring in Kurashiki

April 4, 2008

Cherry Blossoms

Cherry blossoms are in bloom now in Kurashiki. Families and couples are heading for their favorite viewing spots and enjoying picnics under the trees - a traditional past-time known as "Hanami". Favorite spots in Kurashiki include "Sakazu Park", "Tsurugatayama" and "Tanimatsuyama". Kurashiki citizens are hoping for continued good weather and a long bloom.

Seto Ohashi - 20 years.

Mar 6, 2008

Seto Ohashi

The Seto Ohashi Bridge is the worlds longest combined rail / road bridge. The bridge connects Shikoku with the mainland, linking Kurashiki with Sakaide.

In April this year, citizens of Okayama and Kagawa will celebrate 20 years since the opening of the bridge and the linking of the two prefectures. In commemoration, a number of events will be held between April and October.

First Snow

Jan 21, 2008

Bikan Area

Kurashiki had its first snow fall for 2008 last night. The morning commute was a bit slower than usual as workers drove with extra caution on the icy roads. Some parts of the prefecture had up to 45 cm. of snow. Here in Kurashiki we had about 5cm. The Bullet Train ran late on some routes and some highways were briefly closed.

Click photos for enlargements.


View from City Hall

Naming Swans

Dec 30, 2007

Kurashiki City is accepting suggestions for names for the pair of swans (one male, one female) that inhabit the river flowing through the Bikan Historical Quarter. The swans were originally gifted to Kurashiki by the cities of Himeji and Ako. Suggestions for names will be accepted until the end of January. You can submit your entry by email to trsmins@city.kurashiki.okayama.jp

Update: The swans were named Sora (male), and Yume (female), meaning "sky" and "dream" respectively.  The names were chosen from 1056 suggestions.

Quiz Question

Dec 28, 2007

What do you think this is?

An encounter with previously unknown aliens just descended from their UFO?

No, no. These representatives of the Shimotsui area are sun dried octopi.
Exposing them to the cold wind is said to bring out their flavor.
Truly delicious, an unforgettable flavor and no mistake!

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