Kokura faces the Kanmon Strait, and as a key hub of traffic was established early on as a site for forts and castles. Kokura Castle was the first full-scale castle to be built in this area, during the Sengoku Period under the command of the feudal lord Hosokawa Tadaoki. A castle town soon grew up around Kokura Castle, causing its economy to thrive. Walking around the environs of Kokura Castle you can probably still get a sense of that old castle town environment. The castle itself, on the bank of the Murasaki River, is also a must-see.
The “dry masonry” style of stone wall construction, popular in the middle ages, was the pride and joy of the feudal lord Hosokawa Tadaoki. Various gateways, including the main, Otemon, gate, are visible, and some have survived for many centuries. The watchtower that observed incoming sea traffic has been reconstructed in its original location, and is now a tsukemono-ya selling Japanese pickled vegetables. You can also buy nukadaki, a local dish made with delicious sardines and mackerel.
"On the east wing of Kokura Castle is the Kokura Castle Garden, where you can experience what the Edo-period lord’s manor must have looked like. The pond and round-trip-style garden allow you to enjoy the shifting scenery of the four seasons, and you can also try Japanese powdered green tea and traditional sweets. This is also home to the memorial museum for the Kitakyushu-born author Seicho Matsumoto, a must-visit for literature buffs.
(The castle keep is closed to visitors until March 31, 2019 in order to install an elevator and other renovations)"