Cherry blossoms in full bloom in Kitakyushu, Japan

Cruise to Kitakyushu, Japan

Steeped in historical beauty, Kitakyushu is an age-old gateway to the rest of Japan's Kyushu island. Formed in 1963 from the merger of five cities, you'll find Kitakyushu is both a sprawling metropolis and a picturesque portside city. Cruise to Kitakyushu and explore its industrial history in the eclectic old Mojiko Port, where the whimsical facades of century-old buildings are interwoven with the backdrop of the modern buildings. Get familiar with the island's cultural depth at Kokura Castle — see the classic Edo Period architecture with its sweeping white eaves, and stroll through the cherry blossoms that dot the castle grounds. Or stretch your legs in Kawachi Wisteria Garden, where you can walk through dreamy purple tunnels of carefully cultivated wisteria flowers.
National Language Japanese
Currency Accepted Japanese Yen (JPY)

Things To Do in Kitakyushu

The wisteria tunnel kawachi with a curtain of purple flowers flowing over in the Kawachi Fuji Garden in Kitakyushu, Japan

Kitakyushu, Japan Purple Flowers Garden

Purple Tunnels

Purple Tunnels

In the mountainside Kitakyushu lies a private garden of purple flowers called Kawachi Wisteria Garden. Wander through seemingly endless tunnels of cultivated wisteria that shroud you in shades of purple. The most popular viewing season is late April to early May, but the gardens are also open for the fiery colors of autumn.

Kitakyushu international friendship memorial library in Mojiko retro town, Japan

Kitakyushu, Japan Memorial Library

Get Retro

Get Retro

In days of old, Mojiko port was a hub of commercial activity. When the port moved, buildings with historical significance were renovated and preserved in what today is called Mojiko Retro. Visit the striking red-brick Moji Customs Building, take a tour of the Kyushu Railway History Museum, or enjoy the view at the Mojiko Retro Observation Room.

The Kokura Castle in Kitakyushu, Japan

Kitakyushu, Japan Kokura Castle Angled View

Castle Calm

First built in 1602, Kokura Castle is famous for its Chinese-style tower and hand-built natural stone walls. The castle was rebuilt in 1959 and today houses a small museum, where you can see gold-leaf tiger paintings and or sit in a palanquin sedan chair that once belonged to Japanese royalty. Then, do some hanami (flower-viewing) in the gardens and visit the Shinto Kokura Yasaka shrine.

Pufferfish Sashimi in a bowl served in Kitakyushu, Japan

Kochi, Japan Pufferfish Sashimi

Local Cuisine

Japanese chefs are some of the world's best when it comes to preparing seafood, and Kitakyushu is an ideal place to experience their skill. Pufferfish caught in the treacherous nearby seas of Kanmon Strait is said to be the best in all Japan — enjoy as sashimi or boiled in a hearty hot-pot at a fugu restaurant. Jump onboard a Kitakyushu cruise and try the favorite local snack karashi mentaiko, salty, spicy cod roe expertly pickled.

Traditional wooden japanese dolls sold in souvenir shops in Japan

Kitakyushu, Japan Wooden Japanese Dolls


The best places to pick up souvenirs are in Mojiko Retro. If you are looking for a one-stop shop, head to Mojiko Retro Tourist Center. You'll find everything from sweets to signature crafts like Japanese wooden dolls. Mojiko Kaikyo Plaza has a collection of shops selling traditional music boxes and other trinkets.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 If you're going to the wisteria gardens, it's best to go with a tour and book in advance to avoid disappointment.
2 You can easily get around via bus or train, as the whole city is connected.
3 Japan is predominantly a cash-based society, so make sure you always have some cash on hand in case you need it.

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