Local Life in Kitakyushu:
Enter a World of Wild Adventure and Fascinating History
The northern part of Fukuoka — and Kyushu as a whole — is, in many ways, a wild sprawling space. If you’re hankering for some rugged mountains, breathtaking views and diverse historical sites, then Kitakyushu is the place to be.
The Great Outdoors
Prepare for stunning views and exhilarating experiences because Kitakyushu has them both in boatloads. There are dozens of mountains and plains waiting to be explored. Hiraodai Limestone Plateau, Mt. Sarakura(Japanese website) and Mt. Gongen are just a handful of excellent places that cater to beginner and experienced hikers alike. Cyclists can choose between following the oceanfront, scaling mountains and traversing cityscapes. You can even try your hand at archery, horseback riding, and even scuba diving — Kitakyushu has it all!
Hiraodai Limestone Plateau
Mt. Sarakura(Japanese website)
Known as “Kitakyushu’s Kitchen”, Tanga Market has had a solid place in Kitakyushu residents’ hearts for over 100 years. It was rebuilt in 1955 and retains a nostalgic post-war atmosphere with bustling trade going on, making it a joy to explore. The market has over 100 stores ranging from fruit stalls, butchers and fishmongers to bars, coffee shops, and hole-in-the-wall sushi and udon restaurants. It’s a melting pot of Kitakyushu’s best wares and many residents will stop by here several times a week, if not daily. Note that many shops close early (from about 5pm to 7pm) so options for dinner here are limited.
Just a stone’s throw away from the market is Kokura Castle, a key indicator of Kitakyushu’s glorious samurai past. Head inside for more information about Tadaoki Hosokawa (the man who had it built) as well as the Ogasawara clan, who ruled the region for over 230 years. If you’d prefer a view of the castle, head to Kokura Castle Garden, where you’ll find the restored remains of the Ogasawara clan holiday home. Here you can take a quiet moment to yourself, investigate the exhibition area, or experience a traditional tea ceremony (reservations required). Shiro Terrace, a recently constructed rest area and souvenir shop is located between the castle and the gardens, and has a selection of excellent historical and artisanal souvenirs. And if you want to immerse yourself in the history, you can always rent out the whole castle, the gardens and Shiro Terrace for a private event!
For a modern yet still historic atmosphere, head to Mojiko, a port area that thrived once Japan opened its doors to the outside world. The area near the station — including Mojiko Station itself — is littered with stunning old shipping house buildings and clubhouses that have been preserved and repurposed into restaurants, shops, and more. It’s a charming mix of old and new, coupled with breathtaking views of the ocean and Shimonoseki City, located across the Kanmon Strait. For a small thrill, head down 60 meters underground and walk along the 780-meter long pedestrian tunnel that connects Moji Ward to Shimonoseki. You’ll be crossing the Fukuoka Prefecture border into Yamaguchi Prefecture — under the sea!
Mojiko Retro(Japanese website)
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