Kokura Castle was built in 1602 by Hosokawa Tadaoki.
This castle’s keep has a distinctive architectural feature called “karazukuri” in which the 5th floor is bigger than the 4th floor; at the time of its construction, it was the only castle of its kind in Japan.
In addition, it has a style of stone wall called “nozura-zumi,” which uses natural stone instead of quarried stone, and eight separate gates, such as the Otemon Gate and Keyakimon Gate.
There are also many things to see inside the castle itself, including a learning zone with introductions to the history and culture of Kokura Castle, and an observation zone with panoramic views over Kokura.
And it is also renowned for its 300 cherry trees, which bloom in spring, and the autumn colors of zelkova and gingko trees.
Kokura Castle Japanese Garden recreates a samurai residence and a lord’s garden in the Edo period.
The varied landscape can be enjoyed in each of the four seasons.
Visitors can experience Japanese culture, including matcha green tea and sweets in the ryureiseki style (performed with tables and chairs) of tea ceremony.
Seicho Matsumoto, winner of the Akutagawa Prize (Japanese literary award), is undeniably Kitakyushu’s most famous modern writer.
Matsumoto Seicho Memorial Museum paints a fascinating portrait of his life and the many works he left to this world during the four decades he was active as a writer.
One floor provides a comprehensive overview of his many literary endeavors, with a giant chronology and a video documentary on his works of nonfiction giving visitors a glimpse into his life.
The museum also houses a number of Seicho’s possessions, such as his manuscripts and a camera that he took with him when gathering information for his work, and features an area reconstructing parts of his house, from his study and library to his drawing room, giving a sense of his passion as a writer.
Make sure to check out the museum shop for unique Seicho goods!
Tanga Market is Kitakyushu’s kitchen, and has continued since the Taisho era (1912-1926), with approx. 120 stores selling fresh fish, daily dishes, local traditional food “Nukadaki”, and more.
Mori Ogai was one of Japan’s literary greats, and he was posted to Kokura as Surgeon General of the 12th Division of the (former) Japanese Imperial Army. The residence was built around 1897 and is a Japanese style house made up of six rooms. It is believed that Mori Ogai mainly used an 8-mat room and a smaller 4.5-mat room on the south side. Currently an earthen floor room is used as a display space for materials such as his chronicles and other precious materials. The residence appears in the novel Tori (Chickens), and as you view the garden you can conjure up images of that era.