We’re in CNN Travel “19 best places to visit in 2019”!

Fukuoka has been selected as one of CNN Travel’s “19 best places to visit in 2019.”

Selected among such places as Christchurch, New Zealand and Lima, Peru, it is the only place in Japan on this list. Kokura Castle and the Kawachi Wisteria Garden were called out as places to visit in Kitakyushu.

Additionally, a photo of Kokura Castle was used to headline Fukuoka’s section in the article.

Kitakyushu, a charming town

As noted in the article by CNN Travel, Kitakyushu has a lot of attractive points. From our beloved foods to picturesque natural scenery, and a number of diverse and large-scale local festivals, the area has so many things to see.

Foodies will rave over the local cuisine, which takes the fresh seafood ingredients found in the area and puts it to the best use possible.
And it isn’t just sushi–there are loads of other goodies to be found here, and at a reasonable price too.

Just a stone’s throw from the island of Honshu is Moji Port, overlooking the beautiful Kanmon Strait.
Enjoy restored Meiji-era architecture while enjoying a plate of baked curry–yet another local food delight!

And of course, the view from the top of Sarakura Mountain. Chosen as one of Japan’s Three Most Spectacular Night Views, it is known locally as the “ten billion dollar view.” With a far and wide visibility range, it is truly a must-see.

Other noteworthy places are the majestic Hiraodai plateau, the heroic Tobata Gion (a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage event), and the bold crimson of the Wakato Bridge.

Easy Access

You can reach many other places via Kitakyushu. Fukuoka is a mere 15 minutes away by bullet train, and the charming cities of Oita, Beppu, Kumamoto, and Hiroshima can all be reached by either Limited Express train or bullet train within one hour, and Shimonoseki on the island of Honshu can be reached by simply crossing a narrow strip of sea.
Wherever you want to go, it is all conveniently accessible from Kitakyushu.

For getting around within the city limits of Kitakyushu, you can get there by local train, bus, or monorail with no trouble.

Popular Spot: Kokura Castle

Of all the lovely spots to see in Kitakyushu, the most revered one of all is Kokura Castle. With easy access, fun activities, and the large castle tower overlooking the heart of the city, it is one of Kitakyushu’s best secrets.

Kokura Castle: Castle with the only castle tower in Fukuoka

Kokura Castle is truly a splendid castle. It is the only castle in Fukuoka Prefecture, has the 6th tallest castle tower in Japan, and largest ground floor area of all Japan’s castles. It was said in ancient times that “all of Kyushu’s roads lead to Kokura,” and the area’s strategic position led to its becoming a prosperous hub and lookout.

Sakura Hotspot

Today, Kokura Castle is famous as an ideal place to view cherry blossoms, and crowds flock to see them in the spring.

A rare photo spot

Kokura Castle has become famous as one of the few places in Japan where a torii gate and castle can be framed in the same photo.

2019 Grand Re-Opening

March of 2019 marked the grand re-opening of Kokura Castle. The “Picture Scroll of Kokura Castle’s Turbulent 400 year history: People, Places, and Events” entertainment castle museum presents an enjoyable way for people to experience the Castle Tower and its past.

There are five floors in the castle tower. The first floor includes the Kokura Castle Theater which shows the impressive 400 year history of Kokura Castle and popular media.Subtitles are available in English, Chinese, and Korean.
In the “Narikiri Corner,” you can try on a replica of the clothing worn by warriors and princesses in the Edo period. It’s free of charge and should not be missed.
For history buffs, there are displays relaying the histories of the feudal lords on the second floor.
The third floor is dedicated to the legendary duel between Musashi Miyamoto and Kojiro Sasaki. This story is known to everyone in Japan, and deeply bound with the history of Kokura Castle.
On the fourth floor, discover something new in the gallery with displays by local artists.

On the fifth floor is a multi-purpose space with a view of Kokura. Why not celebrate your special occasion like an Edo era noble?

Experience Japanese culture in the Kokura Castle Garden

In front of the Kokura Castle tower is the Castle Garden. These restored remains were originally the vacation home of the Ogasawara clan. The feudal lord’s garden and traditional Edo era samurai family drawing room have been restored, and is now used for cultural displays such as tea ceremony.

The breathtaking view of Kokura Castle from the Castle Garden is often used by locals as a place for wedding photos. This is an ideal place for memorialising a beautiful moment.

Temporary Exhibitions and Displays

Those interested in Japan’s fine artistic traditions are encouraged to visit the exhibition corner in the Kokura Castle Garden. Although the allotted space is small, you may find some hidden treasures.

Authentic Japanese Tea Ceremony experience

After strolling around the Castle Garden and exploring the exhibitions, it is the perfect time to experience the hospitality of an authentic tea ceremony.

While tea can be drunk anywhere throughout Japan, the opportunity to experience it with a traditional ceremony is exceptionally rare. It is difficult to experience the proper tea serving etiquette from an instructor elsewhere, so this is truly an experience to remember.

It is also possible for reasonably sized groups to enjoy a tea service with a view of our beautiful garden.

Take a breather at Shiro Terrace

Between the Kokura Castle tower and the Castle Garden is the newly constructed Shiro Terrace. It is a pleasant space where you can take a rest during your sightseeing. In the tea shop inside, you can find some unique souvenirs from our local area to take home with you.

Renting Kokura Castle at Night

At Kokura Castle, the Castle Tower, Castle Garden, and Shiro Terrace can all be rented as part of a special occasion package for parties and events. This kind of service is a very uncommon opportunity in Japan. Why not try it out for your event?

But you don’t need to be part of a group tour or special event to enjoy the castle at night, as the “Night Castle” is held 1 or 2 times per week. Like the ability to rent for special events, this opportunity is rare in Japan.

Admission fees

(2 facility common ticket:¥560)※
◎Junior and senior high school students:¥200
(2 facility common ticket:¥320)※
◎Elementary school students :¥100
(2 facility common ticket:¥160)※

※Kokura Castle&Kokura Castle Garden

To find out more, visit Kokura Castle's website here!

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Please be advised that the Kokura Castle website uses Google Translate, and the accuracy of the translation cannot be guaranteed.