Located alongside the charming willow-lined canal in Kurashiki, the Tsurugata is one of a handful of traditional inns that used to be trading warehouses. The white walls and black-tiled roofs are distinctively Japanese, and the scent of tatami mats and the old wood beams inside could be bottled as the essence of the old country. One side has views of the canal which is particularly captivating when softly lit at night, and the other side has views of a charming small ornamental Japanese garden. Like some of our own character bed & breakfasts, rooms are a little antiquated but cosy, and there is one bathroom for men and one for women though the door can be locked for private use. This is a very presentable character property where the staff may not speak much English but will offer a warm welcome as well as fine traditional dinners and breakfasts.
To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.Bill Bryson