Kokura Castle

Kokura Castle: A Historical Landmark in Kitakyushu City


Kokura Castle, located in the center of Kitakyushu City, is a famous historical landmark that attracts numerous visitors. With its convenient transportation and nearby recreational facilities, the castle is a popular destination for tourists. One of the main reasons for its popularity is its association with the renowned samurai Miyamoto Musashi, who stayed in Kokura during his lifetime. The castle grounds offer a beautiful view of the surrounding area, and visitors can also explore the nearby Riverwalk Kitakyushu, a commercial complex that provides various entertainment and dining options. Additionally, nature enthusiasts can enjoy a leisurely walk along the Murasaki River, which runs through the complex. In this article, we will delve into the details of Kokura Castle, including its history, attractions, and how to get there.

How to Get There

Kokura Castle is conveniently located near Nishi-Kokura and Kokura stations, making it easily accessible by public transportation. Nishi-Kokura Station, which is on the Kagoshima Main Line, is just a short 10-minute walk away from the castle. For those arriving at Kokura Station, a larger station that is also a stop on the Sanyo Shinkansen, it is a 15-minute walk to Kokura Castle. The Sanyo Shinkansen provides direct access to Kokura Station from Fukuoka and Osaka, making it a convenient option for travelers.

Exploring the Castle

Kokura Castle played a pivotal role in the history of the area. Construction of the castle began in 1602, during the Edo period, and took approximately seven years to complete. Initially owned by the Ogasawara clan, the castle was later destroyed during the war between the Kokura and Choshu clans in 1866. The current keep, while not an accurate reconstruction of the original structure, showcases a more aesthetically appealing design chosen by the townspeople. The castle’s exterior appears to have four stories, but it actually has five floors inside. Within the castle, visitors can explore various exhibits that provide insights into the history of Kokura and the castle itself. One of the highlights is an interactive zone that allows visitors to experience the life of a samurai during the Edo period. From the top floor of the castle, visitors can also enjoy a panoramic view of Kitakyushu, showcasing the city’s beauty from the west, south, and east.

Strolling the Historic Castle Grounds

Surrounded by a moat on two sides and extensive grounds on the other two, Kokura Castle offers a picturesque setting for visitors. The castle grounds, known as Katsuyama Park, are particularly enchanting during mid-spring when cherry blossoms cover the area in a vibrant display of colors. In 1998, a Japanese garden and pond were added to the castle environs, providing a tranquil spot for visitors to relax and appreciate the beauty of nature. Within the garden, there is a traditional samurai study with tatami rooms, offering a glimpse into the lifestyle of samurais during the Edo period. Kokura Castle is also closely associated with Miyamoto Musashi, a legendary swordsman and artist. It is believed that Musashi visited the castle in 1632, and a monument dedicated to him can be found in the park. The castle’s rich history and connection to famous samurais make it an essential destination for history enthusiasts.

Cafes and River Views at Riverwalk Kitakyushu

Adjacent to Kokura Castle is Riverwalk Kitakyushu, a large entertainment complex that offers open-air cafes with breathtaking views of the river and its surroundings. This complex is also home to the Kitakyushu Performing Arts Center and a branch of the Kitakyushu Municipal Museum of Art, providing visitors with opportunities to indulge in cultural experiences. Designed as a natural and open space within the city, Riverwalk Kitakyushu is an ideal place to unwind, enjoy some cultural activities, and savor delicious meals before or after exploring Kokura Castle.


Kokura Castle stands as a testament to the rich history and cultural heritage of Kitakyushu City. Its association with Miyamoto Musashi and the famous “Battle of Ganryu Island” adds to its allure, attracting history enthusiasts from around the world. The castle’s grounds, adorned with cherry blossoms in the spring, offer a serene and picturesque setting for visitors to explore. The nearby Riverwalk Kitakyushu provides additional entertainment and dining options, making it a perfect complement to a visit to the castle. Whether you are interested in history, nature, or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Kokura Castle and its surrounding attractions are sure to captivate your imagination. So, plan your visit to Kokura Castle and immerse yourself in the fascinating history and beauty of Kitakyushu City.

Address And Maps Location:

2-1 Jonai, Kokurakita-ku, Kitakyushu-shi, Fukuoka-ken

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