The main attraction in Kurashiki (倉敷) is its atmospheric Bikan quarter (美観地区), an area of historic buildings along an old willow-edged canal. A picturesque group of black-and-white warehouses has been converted into museums, and laneways are lined with old wooden houses and shops. By night, lamplight reflecting off the canal creates a cinematic mood in the small area.
In the feudal era, the warehouses here were used to store rice brought by boat from the surrounding countryside. Later, the town became an important textile centre, under the Kurabō Textile Company. Owner Ōhara Magosaburō built up a collection of European art and opened the Ōhara Museum of Art in 1930, which today draws many Japanese tourists.