Something that makes Kurashiki City a wonderful destination is not just the great historical buildings that let visitors experience what old Japan was like. Of course these certainly must be on every visitor's list, but a short 30 minute train ride to Kojima from Kurashiki City will land you in the textile capital of Japan.
Kojima is on the coast, and you can look across the Seto Inland Sea to see the island of Shikoku. From here you can drive across the spectacularly engineered Seto Ohashi Bridge, while for those looking for that unique contemporary gift, they will find hordes of jeans manufacturers and small clothing design shops.
From Kojima Station there is the ‘jeans bus tour’ that will take you to many jeans manufacturers, but I want to single out Betty Smith Jeans as the family run design and manufacturing company which holds special claim to being the first to introduce American jeans to the fashion scene in Japan.
Betty Smith is considered one of Okayama’s iconic products. You will be able to pick up Betty Smith products at the train stations as well as Okayama airport. But going out to Kojima will give you the opportunity to visit the factory shop and, if you want to get some custom-made jeans, they will make them fro you right in front of your eyes.
Betty Smith lets you choose absolutely everything: the jeans color, material thickness, the color of the thread, the buttons, and the style. For a very reasonable price of around 20,000 yen, you get a one-off original pair of jeans that should last you a lifetime.
Betty Smith also makes a huge range of products from pencil cases, purses, eco-bags and a jeans ukata (casual kimono). These have become a popular buy for young Japanese to wear at festivals or for that special occasion where you want to dress traditionally but with a modern edge. You can buy them for around 12,000 yen and they would make a fashion statement in any country.