Kitakyushu, Fukuoka

From Academic Kids

Template:Japanese city

 (Kokura-jō), April 2002
Kokura Castle (Kokura-jō), April 2002

Kitakyūshū (北九州市; Kitakyūshū-shi), literally "north Kyūshū", is a city located in Fukuoka prefecture, Japan. The city is a major part of the Kanmon Strait metropolitan area, and the area is becoming increasingly integrated with the Fukuoka metropolitan area. (See Fukuoka-Kitakyūshū.)

The city's symbol flowers are the azalea (tsutsuji) and the sunflower (himawari). The symbol tree is the ichiigashi (a kind of Japanese beech).

Kitakyūshū still suffers from the unfortunate image and reputation - both domestically and overseas - of an industrial and heavily polluted city with many smokestacks, which it indeed was back in the 1960s when it was a major engine of the Japanese economy. As a result some superficial guidebooks have described the city as "hideous", "ugly" etc. - but nowadays this is becoming more and more outdated, and it was in any case never the whole story. Kitakyushu is now the most advanced city in Japan with regard to pollution control and recycling technology. The city also covers a vast area and there are many unspoilt and beautiful areas which have never been touched by industry, especially in the southern part.

Kitakyūshū has an international conference centre and is very active in holding and hosting international conferences of various kinds.

A new 24-hour offshore international airport (New Kitakyushu Airport) is being built on an artificial island in the South of the city in the Seto Inland Sea to replace the present Kitakyushu Airport. It is scheduled to open on March 16, 2006.



The city was founded on February 10, 1963 and was designated on April 1, 1963 by government ordinance. It resulted from the amalgamation of five cities, Moji, Kokura, Tobata, Yahata and Wakamatsu, centred around the ancient feudal city of Kokura.


Kitakyūshū has 7 wards (ku):

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 Kokura Kita-ku (小倉北区)
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 Kokura Minami-ku (小倉南区)
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 Moji-ku (門司区)
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 Tobata-ku (戸畑区)
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 Yahata Higashi-ku (八幡東区)
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 Yahata Nishi-ku (八幡西区)
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 Wakamatsu-ku (若松区)

Nakama city was to become the eighth ward of Kitakyūshū in 2005, to be called Nakama-ku, Kitakyūshū. However, the planned merger was rejected on December 24, 2004 by Nakama city's councillors, despite having been initiated by Nakama city. The reason is that as part of the merger the 21 councillors would be reduced to just three in the enlarged Kitakyushu city.


As of March 2005, the city has an estimated population of 998,999 and the total area is 484.18 km². The average population density is thus 2,063.28 persons per square kilometre.



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Mori Ogai's house in Kokura Kita ward

The novelist Mori Ogai lived in Kokura for several years and his house is open to the public in Kokura Kita ward. He wrote Kokura Nikki (Kokura diary) here. It is a ten minute walk from Kokura Station.

The writer Matsumoto Seicho's birthplace was in Kokura. A museum ( dedicated to him is located in the city centre near Kokura Castle.

The writer Hino Ashihei ( was born in Wakamatsu ward and his birthplace can be visited.


There are several local festivals (matsuri) held in the summer in various parts of the city, including the beautiful Tobata Gion Yamagasa festival in Tobata ward and the Wasshoi Hyakuman matsuri which brings all the festivals together for a grand parade and finale near the City Hall in Kokura Kita ward.

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Hiraodai karst plateau in Kokura Minami ward

Scenic spots

Hiraodai (平尾台) karst plateau and Mount Adachi (足立) in Kokura Minami ward; and Mount Sarakura (皿倉), and Kawachi (河内) reservoir in Yahata Higashi ward are all great walking areas with fine scenery.


Nippon Steel Corporation ( is still a major employer but the Yahata and Tobata plants are much reduced from the heyday of the 1960s. The Zenrin company known for its mapping and navigation software is based here, and so is TOTO (東陶機器), the biggest Japanese toilet manufacturer.

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Isetan department store

The major department stores in Kokura Kita ward are Izutsuya by the Murasaki river and Isetan, in front of the South exit of Kokura Station in the former Sogo department store building.

A smaller scale shopping centre called Cha Cha Town has been created by Nishitetsu bus company next to the Sunatsu bus depot in Kokura Kita ward. It is of course easily accessible by bus and there are lots of free concerts on the stage in the middle of the complex. "Cha" is part of the local Kitakyūshū dialect, and Cha Cha Town is popular with all ages.

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Riverwalk is the newest shopping centre in Kokura. It contains many brand name shops, a Starbucks restaurant (note - there is another Starbucks near Kokura Station), the Kitakyūshū studios of NHK TV, a theatre and the new branch of the Kitakyushu city art museum. It is next to the castle and to Murasaki river which runs through the centre of Kokura Kita ward.


Located at a strategic position on the south side of the Kanmon Straits, Kitakyūshū is an important transport hub for traffic between Honshū and Kyūshū and has a large port.


Kokura Station owned by JR Kyushu is the penultimate stop on the Sanyo Shinkansen before the Hakata Station terminus and all Shinkansen services stop here. It is also served by local and express trains on the Kagoshima and the Nippo main lines. Within the city transport is provided by buses and a monorail line.

Mojiko Station is the northern terminus of the Kagoshima Main Line (J: Kagoshima honsen) which is the most important line on the JR Kyushu network.

The Kitakyushu Monorail links Kokura station efficiently and cheaply with residents and commuters in Kokura Minami ward. There are not many monorails in Japan. (There is one between Haneda Airport and Hamamatsu-chō in Tōkyō. It is called the Tokyo Monorail.)

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The Trans-Dokaiwan ferry, usually called the Waka-To ferry, between Wakamatsu and Tobata


Kitakyūshū is the largest ferry port in Western Japan. Ferry services operate between Kitakyūshū and Shimonoseki, Matsuyama, Tokushima, Kōbe, Ōsaka, Tōkyō, Ulsan (Korea), Busan (Korea) and city's isolated islands. The main ferry port is at Shin-Moji, but there are also ferries at Moji-ko and in Kokura near the station.

Within the Kanmon-Kitakyūshū area, there are three commuter lines: Trans-Dokaiwan (Waka-To) Ferry, The Kanmon Straits Ferry, and The Kanmon Straits Liner.


A new 24-hour airport (New Kitakyushu Airport, Shin Kitakyūshū Kūkō) is scheduled to open in 2006. It will be much larger than the present Kitakyushu Airport and offshore on an artificial island in the Suo Nada gulf in the Seto Inland Sea, near Kanda town. It will be connected with Kokura Station by a new fast rail link.

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Kanmon Straits bridge from the Moji side


There are several bridges in Kitakyūshū and between the city and other places. The largest ones are the Kanmon Straits bridge (J: Kanmon Kyo) between Kitakyūshū and Shimonoseki (on Kyūshū and Honshū respectively) and the Waka-To Ō-hashi bridge linking Tobata and Wakamatsu wards. But there are also bridges over the Onga river (J: Onga-gawa) on the western border of the city.

See also


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Waka-To O-hashi bridge between Tobata and Wakamatsu wards

Sister cities:


External links

Template:Fukuokaes:Kitakyushu fr:Kitakyushu id:Kitakyushu it:Kitakyushu nl:Kitakyushu ja:北九州市 pl:Kitakyūshū pt:Kitakyushu de:Kitakyūshū


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