Very close to Okayama is the small city of Kurashiki. The centre of town along a canal has been very nicely preserved with old buildings and storehouses dating back to the Edo period (1604-1868), a lot of which have been converted into cafes, galleries and museums including the oldest Western art gallery in Japan. It would be a very nice area to stroll around on a sunny day. Unfortunately, when we went it was raining. But it was still quite pleasant:
We were quite lucky, however, to see a small festival going on that day with a large mikoshi (portable shrine) being carried through the streets:
Unusually for these kinds of festivals, it was being carried by the women:
While some of the men who guided the procession wore scary carved wooden masks:
I would like to go back and see Kurashiki when it’s a bit more sunny. I’ve heard it’s particularly pretty in the spring when all the trees along the canal are blossoming. Maybe one day.