Sights to see around Kitakyushu, Japan

Some of you might know that I once lived in Japan for three years. That was in the early to mid-1990s. Besides having many fond memories and souvenirs of all kinds (including our son, who was born there), I also have some good friends there.

My friend, Yoshiko Harada, sent me these lovely photos today, and so the credits for the following photos go to her .

She attended the 6th Oktoberfest (held in April and May) in Kitakyushu earlier in the day. The timing for this month-long event is perfect: spring temperatures are very pleasant in Japan, and the rainy season is till a few weeks away.

Where: Fukuoka Prefecture, Kitakyushu City, Kokura Kita-ku, Jyonai, Katsuyama Park
When: 4th of April until the 8th of May
Opening times: 11:00am until 21:00pm

Prost! (German) Kampai! (Japanese)

Oktoberfest Kokura Kita-ku, Jyonai, Katsuyama Park

For more natural beauty around Kitakyushu, visit the Kawachi Wisteria Gardens (Wisteria is ‘Fuji’ in Japanese).
Tickets for the Fuji Garden can be bought at 7-Eleven or Family Mart stores.

Kawachi Fuji Gardens in Kitakyushu

Visit for more information.

Last, but not least, there is the Kokura Castle. I don’t think I have ever seen in such beautiful darkness.

Kokura Castle in Kitakyushu

Nihon – tadaima: 第 3 日

April 9, 2008

More friends to run into, taking the ferry, okonomiyaki lunch

I had decided to split our 10 days in Japan staying with three different families. There is a Korean proverb which says Visitors are like fish – they stink after three days.

In the morning while we were still staying with the first family, the third family came looking for us without knowing the address. And they actually found us as we walked down the street. It was strange to run into friends – again, almost like being at home once more in Japan. They had driven all the way from the town of Takasu to look for us in the area of Furumae. Seeing them changed our plans slightly, and we spent our next two hours with them.

We took the ferry across the bay just for old-times sake and it was worth it. This used to be the way I would travel to Kokura-ku to work at the local English schools, whether spring, summer, fall, or winter. This ferry is still running, was updated about 10 years ago, and also raised its price from 20 Yen to 100 Yen. This ferry is one of its kind Japan’s oldest, shortest and cheapest ferry ride but the quoted prices in several links are not current anymore.


Before getting on the ferry

Yuko, Shuya

With my friend Yuko and her son Shuya


We also got to stop at Sunlive, the supermarket we used to frequent. Strolling through it was so tempting to buy a lot, but getting miso shiro (bean paste soup) was the only thing I bought in the end.

On this rainy afternoon we went to Kokura to see the Kokura Castle, but the weather would not allow it. It was so windy and rainy we ended up staying in a café to get dry. We had walked around with umbrellas held up like a shield watching store front posts getting blown over everywhere.

For lunch we enjoyed okonomiyaki, the best one I have ever had!!



(with friendly permission from Yoshiko Harada)

The rest of the day we spent with our friends at their home and also packing up for our trip to Beppu and Isahaya/Nagasaki.

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