Kitakyushu is a fantastic sightseeing city that welcomes over ten million visitors every year. Many of these tourists are entering via JR Kokura, which is the main station in Kitakyushu serving the Kagoshima Main Line, Sanyō Shinkansen, Nippō Main Line, Hitahikosan Line, and Kitakyushu Monorail.
Prior to the commencement of your adventures in Kokura it is recommended to visit the tourism office. While the staff speak limited English, they are incredibly friendly and helpful. The staff member who helped me actually gave me a small origami crab as a gift. On the right side of the office you'll find an array of handy pamphlets in a number of languages including English, Korean and Chinese. There is plenty of accommodation nearby, including the Asano Hotel right outside the station.
Inside this large station you'll spot all the usual elements of a well-equipped, massive JR commuter station: convenience stores, coin lockers, restaurants, cafés, a tourism office and the huge shopping complex, Amu Plaza. In the center of the station you will find an illuminated electronic touch screen board that provides information about the area.
JR Kokura Station stands out for its energy efficient solar panels seen in the outer central area of the station. These panels work to operate both the elevators and escalators. Kokura is a highly energy-efficient city that stands out for its modernism and work towards becoming a sustainable urban city center.
Surely the most appealing attraction in the Kokura area is placid and poised Kokura Castle, a relaxing 15-minute walk from JR Kokura Station. The area is easily navigable as the roads are clearly marked with arrows pointing to key sightseeing and activity areas. On the walk back from Kokura Castle, take a stroll through the Tanga Market of the traditional open-air variety. Here you can experience the authentic smells and tastes of Kokura with the lively shop owners calling out their various offerings of fresh meat, veggies, fish and more. Create your own original donburi (rice bowl dish) at Daigakudo, a uniquely university student-operated eatery. For just 100 yen, purchase a bowl of rice and then meander through the market selecting your favorite toppings.
With a number of attractions and appeal as an energy-efficient city, Kokura is an enjoyable tourism destination in Kitakyushu. Ride along with JR Kyushu to make for a safe and stress-free trip.