The Kitakyushu area mv The Kitakyushu area mv The Kitakyushu area mv

The Kitakyushu area is full of historic places that allow you to be immersed in the atmosphere of those days. Epitomizing such places is Mojiko (Moji Port), which recalls the flavor of the Meiji and Taisho eras. Known as the City of Monozukuri or manufacturing, Kitakyushu is home to clusters of cutting-edge technologies, such as automobile, semiconductor and robotics. The city at night is beautifully illuminated by the lights of a group of factories in vigorous operation.

  • Mojiko Retro District
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    Mojiko Retro District

    Since its opening in 1889, Mojiko or Moji Port has flourished as an international trade port. The area has exotic Western-style buildings and other historic structures that still have the feel of the old days, while it is equipped with modern and novel urban functions. Such an exquisite combination has developed the area into a very popular urban-oriented tourist destination. As an addition to its appeal, Mojiko Retro Observatory in the district offers a sweeping view of the Kanmon Straits and even a view of Ganryujima Island, a location famous for the duel between the two great swordsmen Miyamoto Musashi and Sasaki Kojiro.

  • Kokura Castle
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    Kokura Castle

    Under the order of Tadaoki Hosokawa, Kokura Castle was completed after about seven years of construction starting from 1602. The exterior of the donjon features Kara-zukuri, making the appearance simple yet dynamic. In 1632, Tadazane Ogasawara began to reside in the castle. The castle belonged to the Ogasawara clan for about 230 years until the Meiji period, although it was destroyed by fire towards the end of the Edo period (1837). Rebuilt in 1959, the castle is popular as a symbol of Kitakyushu among citizens and tourists.

  • Japan’s New Three Major Night View Cities
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    Japan’s New Three Major Night View Cities

    In 2018, together with the cities of Sapporo and Nagasaki, Kitakyushu was recognized as one of Japan’s new three major night view cities. Kitakyushu features many excellent night view spots, such as Mt. Sarakura, which commands an extensive view of the city, the Wakato Bridge, which glows red when lit up, and the Mojiko Retro Observation Room. The status as the new three major night view cities is reviewed every three years. In the selection made in 2022, the City of Kitakyushu ranked first among big cities deemed as powerful competitors.

  • Former Kurauchi Residence
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    Former Kurauchi Residence

    The Former Kurauchi Residence was inhabited by the Kurauchi family over three generations. The family ran a coal mining business mainly in the Chikuho region from the Meiji to early Showa eras, with their production ranked among the top 10 nationwide. The construction of the residence started with the main house and reception room building, and later a large hall building, a tea house, a large entrance, and such were added. The adjacent Kifune Shrine, its approach, its stone bridge, and such were also built to form an integrated whole with the residence.
    In particular, a must-see is the garden of the residence, a government-designated scenic spot.

The Fukuoka area mv The Fukuoka area mv The Fukuoka area mv

The heart of Kyushu, the Fukuoka area is vibrant with the energy of large-city offerings and serves as a hub of interaction in Asia. Fukuoka, home to venerable shrines and temples, including Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine, is visited by many tourists. A large city, yet blessed with abundant nature, the area offers popular attractions, such as sea bathing, hiking, hot springs and other outdoor experiences.

  • Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine
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    Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine

    Dedicated to Michizane Sugawara, a deity of learning, sincerity, culture, and arts, this is the head of approximately 12,000 Tenjin shrines nationwide, attracting an extensive range of visitors. This head shrine is popular both within Japan and abroad, and draws approximately 10 million visitors per year. In the precincts there are koda trees and camphor trees, some of which are designated as natural monuments, as well as plum trees and Japanese irises, pleasing the eyes of visitors depending on the season.

  • Munakata Taisha Shrine
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    Munakata Taisha Shrine

    As one of the oldest shrines in Japan, this is dedicated to goddesses for the Imperial Family, the country, and safe travel. Many visitors pray for safe voyages and safe traffic. The Miare Festival, held on October 1 every year, is one of the most famous Shinto rituals in Japan. In 2017, the shrine was inscribed on the World Heritage List as an element of The Sacred Island of Okinoshima and Associated Sites in the Munakata Region.

  • Miyajidake Jinja Shrine
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    Miyajidake Jinja Shrine

    This shrine is believed to bring good luck and commercial prosperity. On the 1st of every month, the first prayer meeting of the month begins at 12:00 a.m. The shrine is renowned for its “path of light,” which is formed twice a year when the sun sets far over the sea and shines down on the road leading straight from the shrine’s stone steps to the Genkai Sea. The shrine is also well known for its three largest items in Japan: a big bell, a big drum, and a big shimenawa rope, which weighs 5 tons.

  • Koga Skate Park
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    Koga Skate Park

    This facility is located on the premises of Koga Green Park, established with the theme of “nature and health.” Featuring lush greenery, this is Japan’s first global-style, public skate park where visitors can enjoy skateboarding, inline skating, and BMX. This exciting facility attracts a wide variety of visitors, ranging from almost professionals to families with children.

  • Nokonoshima Island
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    Nokonoshima Island

    Stretching north to south in Hakata Bay but located near an urban area, this island is perfect for enjoying a wide variety of leisure activities, such as fishing, sea bathing, hiking, and collecting insects. Since there are also nature trails and forests for contemplation, you can also enjoy easy walks. The Nokonoshima Island Observation Deck, at a height of 195 m above sea level, affords 360-degree scenery. On the north side of the island is the Nokonoshima Island Park, where flowers such as cherry blossoms and azaleas in spring and cosmos in autumn are in full bloom throughout the four seasons. The park serves as a place of relaxation for citizens.

  • Harazuru Onsen Hot Spring Resort
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    Harazuru Onsen Hot Spring Resort

    This hot spring resort is located along a beautiful riverbed of the Chikugo River, Kyushu's largest first-class river, originating from Mt. Aso. Boasting abundant hot spring water, this is one of the best hot spring resorts in Kyushu. Mainly consisting of simple alkalescent hot springs and simple sulfur hot springs, both called “springs for beauty,” the catchphrase for the hot spring resort is “Water with Double Substances for Beautiful Skin.” The hot water is characterized by its thick and soft texture. Why not enjoy this water for beautiful skin at a hotel or in a family hot spring?

The Chikuho area mv The Chikuho area mv The Chikuho area mv

Chikuho, a rural area, once enjoyed great prosperity as a coal-mining center. There are many sites that remind visitors of the area’s atmosphere from the olden days and tell them clearly about the history of the coal mining industry and how the people lived their lives. In 2019, a sightseeing train service began, attracting attention as a new sightseeing asset in the Chikuho area.

  • Former Residence of Ito Denemon
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    Former Residence of Ito Denemon

    The residence was inhabited by Ito Denemon, the coal-mining king of the Chikuho area, and poetess Byakuren Yanagihara. Because of their architectural value, some parts of the residence, such as the Western-style reception room in Art Nouveau style, dining room, and study room, are regarded as precious cultural heritages of the Meiji, Taisho, and Showa eras.
    The residence conveys the history of coal mining in the Chikuho area and how Denemon and other people involved in the industry lived their lives.

  • Hikosan (Mt. Hiko)
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    Hikosan (Mt. Hiko)

    Mt. Hiko lies at an altitude of about 1,199 meters, extending over Fukuoka and Oita Prefectures. Revered as a holy mountain since ancient times, Mt. Hiko is one of Japan's three major mountains for shugendo or ascetic practices, along with Mt. Haguro and Mt. Omine. Located on Mt. Hiko is Hikosan Jingu or Mt. Hiko Shrine. In the middle of the shrine is Hoheiden, a nationally designated important cultural property. Hoheiden is said to have been originally built in 740, while the current structure was rebuilt in 1616 in the early Edo period by feudal lord Hosokawa Tadaoki. It is also widely known as a popular autumn foliage spot.

  • Coal-mining Memorial Park
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    Coal-mining Memorial Park

    Established on the site of the Ita Shaft of the Mitsui Tagawa Mining Works, which was once the largest of its kind in Chikuho, the park features two chimneys and a shaft tower as symbols of Tagawa City. Next to the facility, there is a coal and history museum where you can learn about the history of coal mining. Of the 697 items in the Sakubei Yamamoto Collection, which was Japan’s first property inscribed on the list of the UNESCO Memory of the World in 2011, 627 items are the property of the museum. Outside the museum, large machinery actually used for mining and restored housing for miners are displayed.

  • Coto Coto Train
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    Coto Coto Train

    This is a restaurant train based on the theme of the Slowest, Tastiest, and Funnest Train in Japan. You can enjoy countryside scenery and French course meals on the train. The car was designed by Mr. Eiji Mitooka, who also designed the Seven Stars and Aru Ressha trains. The gourmet creations are based on advice from Mr. Takeshi Fukuyama, whose restaurant was awarded one Michelin star in 2019 and was ranked among Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants for five years in a row from 2018.

The Chikugo area mv The Chikugo area mv The Chikugo area mv

Surrounded by the Ariake Sea, the Mino Mountain Range, the Chikugo River and the Yabe River, this area is located in a rich natural setting. This underpins the appeal of the area’s traditional sightseeing assets, which you should try. Unlike Kitakyushu, the Chikugo area is a city of creation, as indicated by its prosperity in the fields of furniture and traditional crafts. It may be interesting to enjoy the differences in atmosphere between the two areas.

  • Yanagawa River Cruise
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    Yanagawa River Cruise

    Once prosperous as the castle town of the Tachibana domain, Yanagawa is renowned as the hometown of the poet Hakushu Kitahara.
    A specialty of Yanagawa is the Yanagawa River cruise, in which you can cruise the canal running throughout the city in a traditional donko boat. The boat slowly glides through the water under the guidance of the skipper, who manipulates a long pole. Featuring the gentle sound of the water and the attractive scenery of swaying willows, the cruise also attracts foreign tourists.

  • Yame Tea Field
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    Yame Tea Field

    Yame City is one of the leading tea-producing centers in Japan. Thanks to a climate perfect for growing tea leaves, lush tea fields stretch out in front of you. In the city, there are direct sales shops where producers sell their tea leaves. The tea leaves from Yame are perfect not only as a souvenir for yourself, but also as a gift. The taste of the tea may be even richer if you visit the tea production area and have some tea there while feeling the passion of the producers.

  • Former Miike Coal Mine Miyanohara Pit
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    Former Miike Coal Mine Miyanohara Pit

    The Miyanohara Pit of the Miike Coal Mine was opened in 1898, once boasting an annual output of 400,000 to 500,000 tonnes of coal every year. Today, only the second shaft, which was opened in 1901, remains with its brick winch room and steel derrick, Japan's oldest among the existing ones of this kind, preserved in the same state as when the Miike Coal Mine was shut down. In recognition of the Miyanohara Pit as a valuable structure that underpinned Japan's modernization, it was inscribed on the World Cultural Heritage list in 2015 as a constituting part of the Sites of Japan’s Meiji Industrial Revolution.

  • Koinoki Shrine
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    Koinoki Shrine

    Unusually even across the country, Koinoki Shrine worships the god of love. Sugawara no Michizane, its enshrined deity, was demoted to Dazaifu, thereby separating from his family. Bearing in mind how much he had missed the emperor as well as his family in the capital until he ended his life in Dazaifu, the shrine is said to have been built to console his soul and dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane.
    People believe the god will find a good match and bring happiness; a heart-shaped crest of the shrine, amulets, fortune papers, wooden plaques and such are popular among worshippers.

Some photos are courtesy of the Fukuoka Prefecture Tourist Association.