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kitakyushu city, kitakyushu airport
Kitakyushu Japanese: 北九州市, Hepburn: Kitakyūshū-shi, lit "North Kyushu City" is one of two designated cities in Fukuoka Prefecture, Japan, together with Fukuoka, with a population of just under 1 million people


  • 1 History
    • 11 Kokura Prefecture
    • 12 World War II
    • 13 City
  • 2 Wards
  • 3 Demographics
  • 4 Culture
    • 41 Festivals
    • 42 Center for Contemporary Art CCA Kitakyushu
  • 5 Notable places
  • 6 Economy
  • 7 Transportation
    • 71 Rail
    • 72 Air
    • 73 Sea
    • 74 Roads
      • 741 Expressways
      • 742 Bridges
  • 8 Notable figures
    • 81 Samurai
    • 82 Writers
    • 83 Scientists
    • 84 Musicians
    • 85 Competitive eaters
  • 9 Education
    • 91 Universities and colleges
      • 911 National universities
      • 912 Public universities
      • 913 Private universities
      • 914 Junior colleges
      • 915 Technology colleges
    • 92 Research Institutes and graduate Schools
  • 10 Sports
    • 101 Professional teams
    • 102 Sporting venues
  • 11 Sister cities
  • 12 References
  • 13 External links


Kokura Prefectureedit

Kokura Prefecture was founded separately from Fukuoka Prefecture in 1871 when the clan system was abolished The old wooden-built Kokura Prefectural Office is still standing and is being restored It is opposite Riverwalk Kitakyūshū In 1876, Kokura Prefecture was absorbed by Fukuoka Prefecture The city of Kokura was founded in 1900

World War IIedit

Yahata in Kitakyushu was the target for the beginning of the US bombing raids on the home islands on June 16, 1944, when 75 Boeing B-29 Superfortresses flew out from mainland China2

Kokura was the primary target of the nuclear weapon "Fat Man" on August 9, 1945 Major Charles Sweeney had orders to drop the bomb visually All three attempts failed due to clouds and smoke from Yahata, which is only 7 km west of Kokura and had air raids on the previous day, preventing him from identifying the target clearly Additionally, a smoke screen was created by industrial workers burning barrels of coal tar and/or electric plant workers releasing steam34 The bomb was ultimately dropped on the city of Nagasaki, the secondary target, at 11:02 JST


The city of Kitakyushu was founded on February 10, 1963 and was designated on April 1, 1963 by government ordinance The city was born from the merger of five municipalities Moji, Kokura, Tobata, Yahata and Wakamatsu centered around the ancient feudal city of Kokura The city's symbol mark is a flower with the character "north" 北, kita in the middle and five petals representing the towns that merged


Kitakyushu has seven wards ku:

Name Japanese Area km²
administrative center
小倉北区 3927
Kokuraminami-ku 小倉南区 17025
Moji-ku 門司区 7337
Tobata-ku 戸畑区 1666
Yahatahigashi-ku 八幡東区 3636
Yahatanishi-ku 八幡西区 8304
Wakamatsu-ku 若松区 6786

The city of Nakama, Fukuoka was to become the eighth ward of Kitakyushu in 2005 to be called Nakama-ku However, the merger was rejected on December 24, 2004 by Nakama's city council, despite having been initiated by Nakama City


As of April 1, 2014, the city had an estimated population of 963,267 and a total area of 48960 km²5 The average population density is thus 1,967 persons per km² It is now the country's 15th most populated city5 It has a much larger total area than that of Fukuoka which is only 34003 km²


The 1986 family movie Koneko Monogatari was filmed here The English version of the film, which is the story of the friendship of a kitten and a pug dog, was released in America in 1989 as The Adventures of Milo and Otis

The 1958 comedy Rickshaw Man is based on a local folk hero of Kokura called Muhomatsu or "Wild Pine" and has been called the Japanese "Desperado" He is celebrated in the Kokura Gion Yamagasa festival Toshiro Mifune plays the taiko drum in this movie


There are festivals matsuri held in the summer in the city, including the Tobata Gion Yamagasa festival in Tobata-ku, Kitakyūshū

Kurosaki Gion July

It has been designated as an intangible cultural asset of Fukuoka Prefecture People spin highly decorated “battle floats” as they pull them through the streets6

Tobata Gion July

People carry yamagasa tiered floats decorated with flags by day and lanterns by night on their shoulders

Kokura Gion July

People pull yamagasa parade floats along the street

All the Gion festivals date back about 400 years They were instituted to celebrate surviving an epidemic7

Moji Minato Festival May

This port-city festival involves colorfully costumed people pulling floats through the streets8

Wakamatsu Minato Festival July

This port-city festival celebrates fire, drums, and kappa mythical amphibious creatures who love cucumbers9

Wasshoi Hyakuman Festival August

The Wasshoi Hyakuman Natsumatsuri brings all the festivals together for a grand parade and finale near City Hall in Kokura Kita ward Kitakyushu was formed by the merging of Kokura, Yahata, Wakamatsu, Moji, and Tobata As a result, the city began, on its tenth anniversary, to combine these local festivals into one On the 25th anniversary, it was renamed Wasshoi Hyakuman because the city population had reached one million

Green Park Flea Market monthly, except August and December

There are over 200 shops10

Center for Contemporary Art CCA Kitakyushuedit

The Center for Contemporary Art opened in May 1997 and has shown works of internationally renowned artists, eg, Maurizio Cattelan and Anri Sala

Notable placesedit

Kokura Castle in central Kokura

Kokura Castle 小倉城, Kokura-jō was built by Hosokawa Tadaoki in 1602 It was the property of the Ogasawara clan from Harima between 1632 and 1860 The castle was burnt down in 1865 in the war between the Kokura and Choshu clans

Hiraodai 平尾台, lit Flat Tail Plateau karst plateau and Mount Adachi 足立山, Adachi-san in Kokura Minami ward and Mount Sarakura 皿倉山, Sarakura-san and Kawachi Dam 河内貯水池, Kawachi-chosuichi in Yahata Higashi ward are noted walking areas with fine scenery The limestone outcroppings on Hiraodai are said to resemble grazing sheep, so the plateau, the highest in Kyushu at 400–600 meters, is also known as the Yogun Plain Some of the limestone caverns are open to the public11 The area contains the Sugao and Nanae Waterfalls Sugao is about 20 meters Nanae means "seven stages"

Space World is an ice rink and amusement park in Kitayusha In November 2016 the rink froze 5,000 fish under the ice This sparked protests and Space World apologized12


Kitakyushu MEA

Nippon Steel Corporation is a major employer, but the Yahata and Tobata plants are much reduced from their heyday of the 1960s The Zenrin company known for its mapping and navigation software is based here and so is Toto Ltd13 and Yaskawa Electric Corporation14 StarFlyer, an airline, is headquartered on the grounds of Kitakyushu Airport in Kokuraminami-ku, Kitakyūshū15 Previously the airline's headquarters were in the Shin Kokura Building 新小倉ビル, Shin-Kokura Biru in Kokurakita-ku, Kitakyūshū1617

Colet Izutsuya department store formerly Isetan and originally Sogo department store

A smaller scale shopping centre called Cha Cha Town was created by the Nishi-Nippon Railroad and bus company next to the Sunatsu bus depot in Kokura Kita ward

Riverwalk Kitakyūshū and Kokura Castle moat

In 2009 Bridgestone Corporation opened a plant in Kitakyushu to produce large and ultralarge off-the-road radial tires for construction and mining vehicles

The GDP in Greater Kitakyushu, Kitakyushu Metropolitan Employment Area was US$557 billion in 20101819


Main article: Transport in Fukuoka-Kitakyushu

Located at a strategic position on the south side of the Kanmon Straits, Kitakyushu is an important transport hub for traffic between Honshu and Kyushu and has a large port


Kokura Station, the city's central train station, is the penultimate stop on the JR West Sanyō Shinkansen before the Fukuoka terminus and all Shinkansen services stop here It is served by local and express trains on JR Kyushu's Kagoshima and Nippō Main Lines In the city, transport is provided the Kitakyushu Monorail and buses

Mojikō Station in Moji-ku is the northern terminus of the Kagoshima Main Line, the most important line in the JR Kyushu network

A tram network operated by the Nishi-Nippon Railroad known as the Kitakyushu Line once operated in the city; after dwindling passenger numbers in the 1970s the line was shut down in stages between 1980 and 2000 A railway using tram cars, the Chikuhō Electric Railroad, runs between Kurosaki-Ekimae and Chikuhō-Nōgata stations, serving Yahatanishi-ku and the neighboring city of Nōgata


The Kitakyushu Airport opened on March 16, 2006 It is larger than the previous Kokura Airport and supports 24-hour operations thanks to its location on an artificial island in the Seto Inland Sea It will eventually be connected with Kokura Station by a new fast rail link A new airline based in the city called StarFlyer began operations when the airport opened


Wakato Ferry

Kitakyushu is the largest ferry port in Kyushu, Chūgoku, and Shikoku Ferry services operate between Kitakyushu and Shimonoseki, Matsuyama, Tokushima, Kōbe, Ōsaka, Tokyo, Ulsan Korea, Busan Korea and isolated islands in the city limits The main ferry port is at Shin-Moji, and there are ferries at Moji and near Kokura Station

In the Kanmon-Kitakyushu area, there are three commuter lines: the Wakato Ferry, the Kanmon Straits Ferry, and the Kanmon Straits Liner



The metropolitan area of Kitakyushu is covered by the Kitakyushu Expressway, which has five routes serving the city, totaling 53 kilometers of four-lane expressways Some of these expressways are elevated, especially around the city center Route 1 serves the city center, while route 2 serves the port area Route 3 is a short connector between routes 1 and 2, and route 4 is the longest of the Kitakyushu Expressway network, serving most of the city from north to south Route 5 is a short link serving the inner port area

In addition, Kitakyushu is bypassed by the Kyushu Expressway, the main north-south route on the island of Kyushu The new Higashikyushu Expressway begins in Kitakyushu and runs along the eastern coast of Kyushu North of Kitakyushu, the Kyushu Expressway crosses the six-lane Kanmonkyo Bridge and turns into the Chūgoku Expressway, the second longest in Japan, serving western Honshu


Wakato Bridge

There are several bridges in Kitakyushu and between the city and other places The largest ones are the Kanmonkyo Bridge linking Kitakyushu and Shimonoseki on Kyushu and Honshū respectively via the Kanmon Straits and the Wakato Bridge linking the wards of Tobata and Wakamatsu There are smaller bridges over the Onga River on the western border of the city

On September 30, 2005, ownership of the Wakato Bridge was transferred from Japan Highway Public Corporation to Kitakyushu; on April 1,2006 the bridge was transferred to the control of the Kitakyushu City Road Public Corporation

Notable figuresedit

Mori Ōgai's house in Kokura Kita ward


  • Miyamoto Musashi, samurai swordsman, author of The Book of Five Rings and founder of the Hyoho Niten Ichi-ryū, famous for its use of two swords, lived in the Kokura castle under the patronage of the Ogasawara and Hosokawa clans from 1633 until his death


  • The novelist Mori Ōgai lived in Kokura for 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 Seichō Matsumoto was born in Kokura A museum dedicated to him is in the city centre near Kokura Castle
  • The writer Ashihei Hino was born in Wakamatsu ward and his birthplace can be visited


  • Professor Ted Fujita, called "Mr Tornado" in America was born in Kikugaoka in what is now Kokura Minami ward


  • 175R, a Japanese punk band from Kitakyushu20
  • 1000 Travels of Jawaharlal emo punk21

Competitive eatersedit

  • Yuka Kinoshita, competitive eater and YouTuber


Universities and collegesedit

National universitiesedit

  • Kyushu Institute of Technology

Public universitiesedit

  • Kyushu Dental University
  • University of Kitakyushu

Private universitiesedit

  • Kyushu International University
  • Kyushu Kyoritsu University
  • Kyushu Nutrition Welfare University
  • Kyushu Polytechnic College
  • Kyushu Women's University
  • Nishinippon Institute of Technology
  • Seinan Women's University
  • University of Occupational and Environmental Health

Junior collegesedit

  • Higashi Chikushi Junior College
  • Kyushu Women's Junior College
  • Orio Aishin Junior College
  • Seinan Jo Gakuin University Junior College

Technology collegesedit

  • Kitakyushu National College of Technology

Research Institutes and graduate Schoolsedit

  • Kitakyushu Science and Research Park
    • Graduate School of International Environmental Engineering, The University of Kitakyushu
    • Fukuoka University Institute for Recycling and Environmental Control Systems
    • Graduate School of Life Science and Systems Engineering, Kyushu Institute of Technology
    • Graduate School of Information, Production and Systems/Information, Production and Systems Research Center, Waseda University


Professional teamsedit

  • Giravanz Kitakyushu - Soccer, J3

Sporting venuesedit

Honjo stadium
  • Anō Dome
  • Honjō Athletic Stadium - Home stadium for Giravanz Kitakyushu
  • Kitakyushu Media Dome - Indoor Keirin stadium
  • Kitakyushu Municipal Baseball Stadium
  • Kitakyushu Municipal Gymnasium
  • JRA Kokura Racecourse
  • Sayagatani Stadium
  • Wakamatsu Kyōteijō - Wakamatsu Boat Races

Sister citiesedit

Kitakyushu is twinned with the following cities outside Japan22

  • Surabaya, Indonesia Since 1992
  • Dalian, China
  • Incheon, South Korea
  • Norfolk, Virginia, United States
  • Tacoma, Washington, United States
  • Haiphong, Vietnam

One city in Japan is twinned with Kitakyushu city

  • Minamikyushu, Kagoshima, Japan23


  1. ^ Kitakyushu's official English name
  2. ^ Shigeru Mizuki, A History of Japan Vol 3 Showa 1944-1953, p152
  3. ^ "Steel mill worker reveals blocking view of US aircraft on day of Nagasaki atomic bombing" Mainichi Mainichi Japan 26 July 2014 Retrieved 29 July 2014 
  4. ^ "Nagasaki: The Last Bomb" The New Yorker The New Yorker 7 August 2015 Retrieved 8 August 2015 
  5. ^ a b http://wwwcityyokohamalgjp/ex/stat/jinko/city/new-jhtml
  6. ^ Kurosaki Gion Yamakasa Float Festival | Event Information | Fukuoka Prefecture Sightseeing Information Crossroad Fukuoka Crossroadfukuokajp Retrieved on 2013-12-09
  7. ^ Kokura Gion | Fukuoka Internet TV Webtvpreffukuokalgjp Retrieved on 2013-12-09
  8. ^ 北九州ぐるりん観光ナビ【門司みなと祭】 Kitakyushu-areajp Retrieved on 2013-12-09
  9. ^ Festivals Kqkicksantazicom Retrieved on 2013-12-09
  10. ^ フリーマーケット出店者の皆様へお知らせ - グリーンパーク【響灘緑地】 Kpfmmfjp Retrieved on 2013-12-09
  11. ^ Kyushu's Must-See Tourist Spots 2010  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list help; Missing or empty |title= help
  12. ^ "Japan skating rink criticised for freezing 5,000 fish in ice" The Irish Times Retrieved 2016-11-28 
  13. ^ "Corporate Data" TOTO Retrieved on April 9, 2014
  14. ^ "Corporate Data" Yaskawa Electric Corporation Retrieved on April 9, 2014
  15. ^ "会社概要" StarFlyer Retrieved on December 20, 2010 "本社 〒800-0306 福岡県北九州市小倉南区空港北町6番 北九州空港スターフライヤー本社ビル"
  16. ^ "Company Profile" StarFlyer Retrieved on May 26, 2009 Location Shin-Kokura Bldg, 2-2-1 Komemachi Kokurakita-ku, Kitakyusyu-shi Fukuoka 802-0003 JPN
  17. ^ "会社概要" StarFlyer March 24, 2008 Retrieved on December 20, 2010 "本社 〒802-0003 福岡県北九州市小倉北区米町二丁目2番1号 新小倉ビル JR小倉駅より徒歩10分"
  18. ^ Yoshitsugu Kanemoto "Metropolitan Employment Area MEA Data" Center for Spatial Information Science, The University of Tokyo 
  19. ^ Conversion rates - Exchange rates - OECD Data
  20. ^ 175R – Free listening, concerts, stats, & pictures at Lastfm Retrieved on 2013-12-09
  21. ^ "1000 Travels of Jawaharlal" Lastfm 
  22. ^ http://wwwcitykitakyushulgjp/soumu/file_0233html Kitakyushu Sister Cities Retrieved 25 January 2015/ in Japanese
  23. ^ "姉妹都市・交流都市" Minamikyushu city official site Minamikyushu city Retrieved 23 February 2015 

External linksedit

  • Kitakyushu travel guide from Wikivoyage
  • Kitakyushu City official website in Japanese
  • Official website in English in English
  • Kitakyushu page of Fukuoka Prefecture Tourism Association website in English
  • Kitakyushu Science and Research Park in English
  • CCA Kitakyushu in Japanese

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