Located in Fukuoka Perfecture, Kitakyushu is not one of the most well-known cities when you think of Japan but is rich in history and culture. It is also home to one of the most beautiful wisteria gardens in Japan.
Currency: Japanese Yen (JPY)
Official Language(s): Japanese
The Kitakyushu Airport is a very small airport located on an island. From the airport the city centre is about 24 Km. There is a limousine bus you can take from the airport that will drop you off at Kokura station, which is the main station in the city, or other parts of the city. You could always take a taxi, however taxis in Japan are very expensive. From the airport to the city centre it could cost about 7,000yen ($85 CAD).
From the airport to the city centre you can take the red line bus non stop to Kokura Station then take another bus or train to wherever you need to go. The bus costs 700yen ($8.50 CAD) so it is very affordable compared to taking a taxi. The bus ride is only about 33 mins give or take, depending on traffic.
Once in the city there are buses and trains available to get around. If you are in the city centre you are able to walk to the attractions close by. The JR line is a very fast and efficient way to get around to the further out places.
What to See
Kitakyushu is not a very popular travel destination. When I arrive in the airport I mostly saw Korean travellers or other Japanese people. Most people flock to the big cities like Tokyo, Kyoto or Osaka. However, Kitakyushu is part of Fukuoka has a ton of interesting history.
A must see attraction here is the Kokura Castle, which was built in 1602 and the original castle was burnt down in 1866 as a result of war. To visit the castle it costs 300¥ or you can do 3 attractions (Kokura Castle, Matsumoto Seicho Memorial Museum & Kokura Japanese Garden) for 700¥. Located just steps away from the castle is The Riverwalk. This mall is an upscale open air mall with a movie theatre, restaurants, markets, gaming centres and clothing stores. Kawachi Fujien is probably the most popular destination in Kitakyushu. Kawachi Fujien is a private wisteria garden and is only open for the spring and fall. If you want to visit be prepared to pay anywhere from 1000-2500¥ ($10-25 CAD). Hiraodai is a popular national park with limestone caves and beautiful views. It's a great place to relax and have a picnic.
What to Eat & Drink
Even though Kitakyushu is in Japan, each region has their own take on Japanese food. The Riverwalk had a lot of Japanese and foreign options and the hostel I stayed at also served food. Gyoza is a typical appetizer meal. They are always so cheap that you can also get a main dish. Other popular dishes are ramen, teriyaki, okonomiyaki, udon and chicken steak. Some delicious drinks to try are matcha green tea and milk teas!
Foods to try:
Where to Stay
There aren't many hostels in Kitakyushu. One of the most popular places is the Tanga Table hostel, as they have dorm rooms, private rooms and Japanese style rooms. This hostel is great for everyone and is walking distance to Riverwalk mall. Prices for a dorm room start from around cost 2,100yen ($26 CAD).You can also find a few hotels for under $50 CAD a night.
Beppu-- About 2 hours southeast by train from Kitakyushu. Beppu is home to one of the most famous hot spring resorts in the country.The have many baths to chose from like hot water, mud, sand and steam.
Fukuoka-- About 60 mins by train from Kitakyushu. Fukuoka is the capital city of the Fukuoka prefecture that Kitakyushu is actually in. It is one of the most populated cities in Japan and also one of the most important.
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