If you find yourself exploring Kokura-kita Ward by bike, you should definitely go around to the famous historical spots. Many writers and haiku poets, including Matsumoto Seicho, Mori Ougai, Sugita Hisajo, and Hashimoto Takako, relocated to Kokura. The town contains famous places where today you can trace the footsteps of the masters. The environs around Kokura are beautiful throughout all four seasons, and you will find it a pleasant experience to get off your bike to explore them. If you rent a power-assisted bike from Kita-Kyushu’s City Bike, you can return it anytime to one of its nearby cycle stations. When you get tired from cycling, we suggest you return your bike and then enjoy some tea at a café.
When exploring the central part of Kokura, you should take advantage of City Bike. By purchasing a “1-Day Passport” for ¥500 at the City Bike Station beside Kokura Castle, you can ride it as much as you want and return it up to 24 hours later. And you can return it to any one of the several City Bike Stations in the city.
Kokura faces the Kanmon Strait and as a strategic location for traffic on land and sea, and through the ages it was a land with fortresses and castle. Traces remain of the history of the many powerful clans who wielded control over the land.
Spanning the Murasaki River in the center of Kokura are 10 bridges with their own individual designs and beautiful features, including Umi-no-Hashi (Sea) Bridge, Hi-no-Hashi (Fire) Bridge, Ki-no-Hashi (Tree) Bridge, and Tetsu-no-Hashi (Iron) Bridge. On the promenades, you will have to get off and push your bike, and for safe cycling, be sure to use the dedicated bike lane where they exist.
When exploring around the environs of Kokura Castle, be sure to drop by the Matsumoto Seicho Memorial Museum. It is a literature museum with exhibits featuring the life and works of the writer Matsumoto Seicho, who was born in Kita-Kyushu City. It contains a corner with over 700 literary works which form a chronology of his life. There is also a display room with replicas of his den and drawing room at his Tokyo residence in Suginami Ward, as well as an archive that houses about 30,000 documents. Visiting there gives you the sense that he still lives and breathes there.
Click here to go to the website for Matsumoto Seicho Memorial Museum.
When pottering around the environs of Kokura-kita Ward, you are recommended to visit the Tanga Market. It is a marketplace for mountain food from Buzen and Kanmon, as well as seafood, and is also called the “Kitchen of Kita-Kyushu.” There is a bike parking lot in front of the Quest bookstore. We encourage you to get off your bike and try searching for delicious items of Kita-Kyushu. If you want to have a meal in the shopping area, we recommend “Daigaku-do,” which was opened by local university students. You can simply buy a bowel of white rice and then find some toppings you like at the market. Once you have found your toppings, put as much as you like on top of the bowel of rice, and then you can go back to the Daigaku-do to eat your meal. In the market, you will find a wide variety of side dishes, such as “nukamisotaki,” a famous product of Kokura, which uses seasonal ingredients. But be careful not to buy too much and overeat.
Mori Ougai was stationed in Kokura as the military medical director in 1899, and his residence in Kajimachi still remains today. The former residence has on display his will and some materials and documents. Stepping inside this Japanese-style house from the past right in the middle of Kokura, literature buffs will no doubt feel peace of mind with the calm and tranquil air of the house.
This is a fascinating course to enjoy taking a walk by bicycle as you explore the history of Kokura. When you grow a bit tired from cycling, you can drop into a place you like to leisurely enjoy some tea. And then you can return your City Bike to a nearby cycle station. You will find it convenient to return back home using public transportation.