↑ Return to Chikugo

Okawa-shi

at a glance

Like the kanji for Okawa, which mean “big river,” the Chikugo River flows serenely through the city. Watch the sunset from the Shokaikyo bridge, see how samurai families lived in Edo times by exploring the city’s old houses while browsing the many furniture shops in this quaint and funky area.

Festivals

Furogu Shrine Matsuri – Early February

Kinoka Marathon – Late February

Takahashi Family Home Matsuri – Mid-April

Mokkosai – Early October

Getting There

By bus…

– From Nishitetsu Hatchomuta or JR Hainuzuka stations, the Onoshima Nokyo bound bus runs down Route 442. From Yanagawa, bus #1 and any Saga-eki bound bus follow Route 208 to Okawa. By car: Use Routes 208, 442 and 385

points of interest

Furogu Shrine was established 1800 years ago, but the current shrine dates back to 1560. The temple grounds hold several Fukuoka Prefectural assets including an 1800-year-old camphor tree and a seated wooden figure of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. It’s a nice place to visit at any time of the year, but it is full of activity during festival time.

getting there…
Look for it right across from Okawa Jr. High on Route 442. Take a Nishitetsu bus to Nakahara and walk towards the river. 726-1 Sakemi. 0944-87-2154

Masao Koga Memorial Museum is the place to learn more about Masao Koga, a famous enka composer and developer of the Koga Melody. When you walk around town, especially alongside the canal system, you can hear some of his music. Every November 18 there is a festival celebrating all things Koga. It will cost you ¥300 to enter.

getting there…
Off of Route 208—from JR Saga Station take a bus bound for Okawa-Yanagawa and get off at the Kaneki bus stop. 844 Sanmaru. 9:30am-5pm; closed Mon • 0944-86-4133 • http://www.city.okawa.fukuoka.jp/kogakinen

Shokaikyo Bridge, as the largest moveable iron bridge in western Asia, is a popular place to view the sunset. Originally constructed as part of the now-defunct Saga Line of the former National Railway, it is a cultural asset that now functions as a walking path. The view of this bridge at sunset has come to symbolize the city of Okawa.

getting there…
On Route 208 heading towards Saga, you will see the bridge on the left just before you cross into Saga.

Takahashi Family Home & Vinegar Factory dates back to the Edo Period, with tours of the vinegar works available daily. There is a two-day festival here in mid-April when you can see the interior of the home. Entrance is free.

getting there…
Near the Okawa-Ginza bus stop and the Meiji-bashi intersection. 548 Enotsu. 9am-5pm; closed Mon • 0944-86-1535

Yoshihara Family Residence, next to the Takahashi Family Home, is a beautifully constructed samurai house dating back to 1759. Some of the beams and floorboards are from large camphor trees and run the length of the large rooms. There are also elaborate wooden carvings above the doors and other beautiful interior features. Entrance is free. 136-17 Kobo. 9am-5pm; closed Mon • 0944-86-8333

eating and drinking

Restaurants and Cafes

Adachi Coffee  is dedicated to selling coffee beans and accessories from around the world. The owner, Adachi, speaks some English and Italian, and he will pour you a free cup if you have time to chat.

getting there…
Take the bus to Nakahara stop or drive down 208 towards Saga. It is near the Takagi Hospital. 325-28 Kubo. 9am-8pm (Sun til 7pm); closed Tue • 0944-87-6549 • Veg • ¥

Paris Montsouris Chocolat Chocolat, next to the Takahashi Family House, is a bakery and cafe with a Japanese owner who studied pastry making in France.

getting there…
Near the Shin-machi-iriguchi bus stop. 173 Kubo. 10am-8pm Sun-Thu; til 10pm Fri & Sat; closed Tue • 0944-87-6919 • Veg • ¥¥

Taj features curries from different South Asian nations—don’t let its barn-like exterior or huge “COFFEE” sign throw you off! It also has a decent Chinese restaurant attached to one side.

getting there…
Across the street from Okawa Youme Town on Route 765. 436-4 Agemaki. 11:30am-10:30pm; LO 9:45pm • 0944-87-0855 • ¥¥

Living There

Shopping Friends International boasts an eclectic mix of used goods with a large selection of both men’s and women’s clothes and jewelry. It is also a good resource for larger sizes of shoes. Worth a visit if only for what’s written on the side of the wall.

getting there…
It’s near the Okawa Kojyo Mae bus stop on Route 208—look for the red building and a tall sign in English. 1359 Mukojima. 11am-9pm • 0944-88-2355

Youme Town Okawa mega-mall is a five-minute walk east of City Hall.

getting there…
Take a Nishitetsu Saga bound bus to the Nakahara bus stop and follow the Youme Town signs. 430-1 Jokanji-azanoguchi. 9am-10pm • 0944-88-3600

For more services, go to Kurume-shi or Yanagawa-shi.