Being only a short 30-minute train ride from Kurashiki, welcome to the castle town of Bitchu Takahashi.
Bitchu Matsuyama Castle was built in the 13th century although additions were made in the 17th century. It is not particularly tall, but it is located high up in the mountains so finding it is quite a challenge. Being short of time and realizing it closes at 4:30pm, I had to scramble for a taxi from the train station for the 15 minute journey, followed by a brisk 15 minute hike uphill in the forest.
Besides the castle, several samurai houses have been preserved and now have become museums. A single admission gets you into 2 houses on the street. Notice the various rooms and beautiful gardens.
Raikyuji was already closed by the time I arrived.
A small river runs through the center of town with shrines on bridges that cross it.