The Charm Of Kitakyushu

The city of Kitakyushu in Japan is a scenic place that is a fusion of industry and culture, Japanese history and modern technology. It was formed in 1963 through the union of the cities of Kokura, Moji, Tobata, Wakamatsu and Yawata. Not as well-known to tourists as the bigger cities like Tokyo, the city of Kitakyushu preserves its’ natural beauty amidst clear blue seas and lush, green mountains. This peculiar blending of beauty, modernity and relative anonymity makes up the city’s charm.

Industrialization. When Kitakyushu was formed in 1963, the city lacked connectivity. Hence, the establishment of a cultural center called RiverWalk Kitakyushu which created a unified identity for the city. A center for high and popular arts, the place houses various retail and entertainment venues. Physically, it links the traditional retail district of Kitakyushu with Kokura Castle and Katsuyama Park. Symbolically, the project unites the city through a collection of five bold, iconic forms representing each of the city’s five districts: Kokura, Moji, Tobata, Wakamatsu and Yawata. RiverWalk Kitakyushu has received much praise and commendation from both the local and the international community. The project is also the recipient of the 2001 American Architecture Award from the Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture.

Economy. One of Japan’s most important manufacturing regions, Kitakyushu is also one of the country’s chief ports and railroad centers. With the early beginnings of Japan’s iron and steel industry in the city, Kitakyushu is now one of the largest iron and steel producing cities in the country. Value-added types of industry such as electrical machinery industries, industrial robotics, semiconductors, and environmental technology have also grown in the city in the past several years. Meanwhile, the steel and raw materials industries have diversified into high processing and high value-added industries. Center of finance and commerce in the city is Kokura.

Culture and Attractions. More than natural beauty, the city boasts of various recreational establishments and cultural events that delight tourists and citizens alike. One place to go to when you want some excitement is Japan’s first castle” theme park: the Kokura Castle. It features an innovative Karakuri theater that provides visitors an insight into the Edo Period.

Another natural scenic spot in the city is the Hiraodai Karst Plateau, designated by the government as a natural monument. With green fields and pedestrian paths, the place is ideal for picture-taking, picnics, or simply for relaxation. Just nearby the plateau is the Hiraodai Countryside Park ideal for hiking and nature education.

Various festivals are celebrated in Kitakyushu, most of which started during the earliest times. Of the more popular are the three big Gion festivals celebrated during summer months. These festivals entice visitors from all over Japan.

A breakthrough in Kitakyushu cultural arts occurred when the Kitakyushu Performing Arts Center opened in the city on August 2003. Housing three versatile performing halls, the center provides various entertainments, from small-budget theater groups to world-class orchestras.

Shopping lovers, fear not, for aside from the Riverwalk Kitakyushu, the Tanga Market of Kitakyushu was built just for you. Reminiscent of the post-war black market, the place is always buzzing with shoppers from different places hunting for bargains.

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