KOKURA in Kitakyushu
Last month, my sister and I visited Kitakyushu for family matters. Kokura in Kitakyushu City is my ancestral land, so we have a special attachment to it.
Located at the gateway to Kyushu, across the Kanmon Strait from Japan’s mainland of Honshu, Kitakyushu City in Fukuoka Prefecture is a city with a population of 940,000.
Kitakyushu City has evolved as a manufacturing city, with key industries such as steel, chemical, ceramic, cement, and electric. As one of the four largest industrial zones in Japan, the City has contributed to the economic growth of Japan. In recent years, the City has also been attracting automobile and energy-related industries.
Although we have the impression that Kitakyushu is just an industrial city, Kitakyushu has a long history and played a key role in Japanese history.
Kitakyushu is full of attractions with cultural heritage, such as the UNESCO World Heritage-registered industrial modernization sites, and the Mojiko Retro area.
Among them, Kokura is a historic castle town, so the remnants of that can be seen everywhere.
We found the Zenrin Museum which displays historical Japanese maps unique and interesting.
Zenrin is a Japanese map company publishing maps, and mapping software used in navigation systems for vehicles. The museum focuses on historical maps of Japan.
It is located on the 14th floor. You will see a series of the oldest maps of Japan produced by Europeans, including the ones used by Commodore Perry.
Many of them date from the 16th century. For example, Linschoten's "East Asia Map" (1595) shows major ports, and silver mines and contributed to the UK and Holl making greater inroads in East Asia. Japan maps change over time, depending on how Europeans look at Japan.
After the Tokugawa Shogunate took an isolation policy, the Japanese map changed with a lot of imagination. Kaempfer's "The History of Japan" (1727) lacks in accuracy. After Ino Tadataka, who made the first map using modern surveying techniques in the 19th century, the Japanese map became more accurate.
If you have a chance, I will recommend visiting the museum, the shop and cafe where the view of the city is amazing!
1-chome, 1-1 Muromachi
Fukuoka Pref. 803-0812