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The Ryokan Collection
Okayama's Scenic Spots and Unique Festivals
Kurashiki's Bikan Historical Quarter has preserved a quintessentially Japanese townscape largely unchanged for nearly four centuries. One of the most popular ways to enjoy it is from a traditional wooden boat plying the Kurashiki Canal. These small craft were once used to ferry goods up and down the waterway. Now they allow visitors to enjoy the atmosphere of the timeworn streets from a different perspective. About an hour from Bikan are the Raikyuji Gardens, designated a site of scenic beauty by the Japanese government. Compared with other landscape gardens, this 400-year-old treasure is fairly compact, meaning its beauty can be enjoyed from the comfort of the main building even on rainy days.

Photo by courtesy of Okayama Prefecture Official Tourism Guide Explore Okayama
The Saidaiji Eyo, also known as the Hadaka Matsuri or "Naked Festival", takes place on a frigid night in February. Hordes of men clad only in small loincloths compete to gain possession of two wooden sticks said to bring the owner luck in the following year. Up to 10,000 men take part, wrestling and scrambling to seize the treasures and a year of good fortune. It is one of the three major festivals in Japan, with a lively atmosphere created by pounding taiko drums and glittering fireworks in the winter sky.
HP: www.okayama-cci.or.jp/activation/saidaijieyo_en.html
In 2020, this event will be held on Saturday, February 15.

Photo by courtesy of Okayama Prefecture Official Tourism Guide Explore Okayama
Ryokan Kurashiki
Overlooking the Nakabashi Bridge at the center of the Bikan Historical Quarter, by the banks of a pretty, willow-lined canal, sits the beautiful Ryokan Kurashiki. Situated at the center of the waterways and streets of the city of Kurashiki's lovingly preserved Bikan quarter, Ryokan Kurashiki is an oasis of elegant calm in the bustling, history-steeped district.
The ryokan was originally the home of a wealthy sugar merchant who outfitted the house with exquisite craftsmanship and fine antiques. The ryokan itself consists of several buildings joined together into a single unit with old kura, or traditional warehouse buildings (the "kura" in Kurashiki), plus newer structures.
The whole place was thoroughly renovated a few years ago and now boasts all the modern conveniences one expects in a fine hotel, including modern fixtures and flat-panel TVs, but it retains the essence of the Bikan quarter and its aura of solidity, wealth and luxury.
Kifu No Sato
For generations, the lovely Kifu-no-sato ryokan has been an institution in the Yunogo area of Okayama Prefecture. The ryokan displays all the luxury and refined taste one expects from a high-end establishment, including lovely interiors, impeccable service, relaxed, friendly hospitality, and exquisite attention to detail. The interior spaces, including the hallways, are carpeted with tatami, providing a restful aroma and enhancing the relaxed atmosphere.
Kifu-no-sato's management is now in its fourth generation. The Sasakis are also passionate about their place in the community, which is why Kifu-no-sato features art, crafts, furniture and foods created by local artists and craftsmen.
The ryokan's location in the Yunogo historical quarter places it in a fascinating historical context, in the middle of what was once the ancient domain of Bizen, and the birthplace of the renowned swordsman Miyamoto Musashi. This area is now a hotbed of traditional crafts, with a host of craftspeople, young and old, striving to revive Japan's traditional ways.
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For more information and queries, please visit www.ryokancollection.com or contact our concierge at info@ryokancollection.com or +81 3 6824 1015.
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