↑ Return to Chikuho


at a glance

Three large hills or mounds plopped in the center of town let you know you’re in this city of 83 000. “Ii” means rice, and “zuka” or “tsuka” is a reading for mound, hence the origin of the city’s name. Recently merged with neighboring Chikuho, Shonai, Honami and Kaita, Iizuka is home to two universities, the Kyushu Institute of Technology (KIT) and Kinki University, both of which have ties to international institutions, lending a more cosmopolitan air to the area.

It is also Japan’s 3rd most dangerous city behind Osaka and Yokohama: the declining coal industry left people searching for alternative ways to make a living, and thus was born a strong local yakuza (Japanese mafia) population; don’t worry, but if the gentleman on your left at the bar is sporting a sharp suit, dark glasses and elaborate tattoos, try not to spill his drink.


Yamakasa Matsuri


Iizuka Hanabi Taikai

Early August

getting there

By train, JR Shin-Iizuka and Iizuka Stations can be found on the JR Fukuhoku Yutaka Line; simply change at JR Orio Station on the JR Kagoshima Line if coming from Kitakyushu area. For those living in the Tagawa area, get on the train at the JR Tagawa-Ita or JR Tagawa-Gotoji station.

By bus… Tagawa-bound buses from platform 1 in the Tenjin Bus Center stop at the Iizuka Bus Center then JR Shin-Iizuka station (50 minutes, ¥900 or buy a bus card for ¥10 000, usable on any Nishitetsu bus); the Fukuoka Airport bus also runs from Iizuka.

points of interest

Cosmos Common is named after the famous flowers which are the symbol of Iizuka City. This cultural center hosts concerts, plays, lectures and exhibitions throughout the year. There are signs leading to the building from both the Iizuka Bus Center and JR Iizuka Station • 14-66 Iizuka-shi • Hours open depends on the event • 0948-21-0505 http://www.city.iizuka.lg.jp/cosmos/index.html

Iizukashi Rekishi Shiryoukan (Historical Museum)  in Tateiwa has burial grounds thought to be 2000 years old, from the Yayoi Period. Excavated in 1953, they are now a National Cultural Asset. From Shin-Iizuka JR Station, get out of the east exit and ask nearby taxi drivers for directions • roughly a 10 minute walk • 959-1 Iizuka-shi, Kayanomori • 9:30am—5pm Tues—Sun • 0948-25-2930

Itoh Denemon is a property containing an extensive garden and house named after its original occupant, a rich coalmine owner. He built it for his wife, a famous singer from Tokyo. The Denemon house is known to be the first in Kyushu to have toilets with running water. From the JR Urata Station, head towards the Onga river and cross the Kawashima Bridge; follow the signs. 300 Koubukuro, Iizuka-shi. 9:30am-5pm (last entry 4:30pm), Thurs-Mon • 0948-22-9700

Kaho Gekijou (Theater) is the last of its kind in Kyushu, a traditional wooden theater built in 1921 with mats rather than seats to sit in. Various events, mainly musical performances, are held throughout the year. Tickets can be bought from in front of the theater or at a Lawsons or Family Mart convenience store. It is within walking distance of the Iizuka Bus Center or JR Iizuka Station; follow signposts to the theater 523 Iizuka Hours open depends on the event 0948-22-0266

Katsumori Koen (Park)  is a small but convenient park in central Iizuka, famous for its cherry blossoms and azaleas during the hanami (cherry blossom viewing) season. There’s also a children’s playground and a large, swan-filled pond. Coming out from the Iizuka Bus Center, turn right and go straight past the Lawsons convenience store until you see a sign that is labeled both in English and Japanese with the park`s name. Turn right and go straight.

Kayanomori Historic Museum and Kofun in Tateiwa has burial grounds thought to be 2000 years old, from the Yayoi Period. Excavated in 1953, they are now a National Cultural Asset. – getting there…Five minutes from Shin-Iizuka Station. From the West Exit turn right and follow the signs.

The Onga River is 128km long. From Iizuka it goes all the way to Nogata along the embankment (approximately 12km), and is a popular route for joggers and cyclists. During September and October cosmos flowers bloom pink and purple along the trail, a beautiful sight.

Sun Village Akane is a grassy artificial ski slope on Sangun-zan mountain. Ski rentals cost about 1,500 yen with an entrance fee of 3,500 yen. There’s also a hike which takes about an hour from the ski center. Overnight accommodations are also available. To get there by car, take Route 200 south in the direction of Chikushino.  845-38 Yamaguchi, Iizuka-shi • Phone: 0948-72-3331 • http://www.akane-ski-fukuoka.com/

eating and drinking


Bohemian Cafe is a stylish, quiet cafe that serves fantastic coffee and great food. It hosts a monthly live jazz event. From Shin-Iizuka station, go straight down the street on the left, opposite Fukuoka bank. Mon-Sat 12-2pm, 5pm-12am. Tel 0948-21-5128. ¥

Nakamuraya has a typical Japanese menu opposite and sits Shin-Iizuka Station. 11:45am- 3pm, 6-10pm. Tel 0948-25-8844. ¥

Saint Etoile is a great bakery with cheap coffee, plenty of tables and delicious pastries and bread. To get there, get of the west exit of JR Shin-Iizuka and ask for directions to the Aso supermarket, which lies across the street; 4-20 Yoshio  7am—8pm daily  0948-26-1310


Chikyuya is an international cuisine restaurant that serves mostly East Asian dishes. The owner of the branch close to the bus center is a bodybuilding and cowboy enthusiast, likes to perform magic tricks and practice his English on you. There are two locations within the city; one near the JR Shin-Iizuka Station and the other near the Iizuka Bus Center. Ask for directions from either one • 16-27, 2F Hon-machi (for Iizuka Bus Center location)/ 10-17 Shin-Iizuka (for near the Station) • 6pm-1am Tues-Sun (Iizuka branch), 5:30pm-12:3am Mon-Sat (Shin-Iizuka branch) • 0948-24-7888 (for Iizuka branch), 0948-24-7151 •

Chirorinmura to Kuruminoki offers cool jazz to accompany your wine and simple food. To get there take Route 211 heading towards Kaho Higashi High School; you will see it before the route splits into Route 30 and Route 200. 239 Koubukuro. 11am-11pm, closed every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month • 0948-24-5810 • http://homepage3.nifty.com/chirorinmura/ • ¥¥

Don Don Tei has various kinds of okonomiyaki on its menu that will satisfy all your cravings for this unique Japanese `pancake`. Take the east exit from the JR Shin-Iizuka Station and ask for directions to Baskin Robbins, which lies directly in front of Don Don Tei or take a ten minute taxi ride • 162-3 Kayanomori • 11am—2am daily 0948-28-8512 • ¥

Hamakatsu serves a great variety of tonkatsu (breaded and fried things). Near Don Don Tei in the Kayanomori. Tel 0948-24-1796. ¥

Ichi Taro lets you chase your sushi kaiten (conveyor belt) style. On Route 200, coming from Iizuka, past Sporting Core Gym on the right. ¥¥

Kagome Kagome is a trendy Japanese izakaya with friendly staff who will practice their English on you and serve western style dishes. They have an extensive beverage section and give blankets for customers to put over their laps during the cold seasons. From the Iizuka Bus Center, go straight past the Iizuka Post Office and it will be on your right 11-3 Iizuka-shi 5pm-2am, Tues—Sun0948-23-2014 Eng ¥¥

Nogami President Hotel is the biggest hotel in Chikuho, with two restaurants, Chinese and Western, both of which are popular lunch and dinner spots. Also has a decent rooftop beer garden with cheap nomi and tabehodai from June to August. From JR Shin-Iizuka Station’s west exit, turn right. Turn left at the intersection, go straight, and the hotel, with white exterior, will appear on your left near the Iizuka City Hall. 12-37 Shin Tateiwa. Reservations essential • 0948-22-3840 • http://www.nogami-group.co.jp/hotel/• ¥¥

Ray Duck serves homemade burgers in a casual diner-style setting. They offer seventeen different kinds of regular-sized burgers and six types of king size burgers. By car, it’s located on Route 200 towards Fukuoka City. 205 Kawazu. 10am-9pm Thu-Tue •0948-23-9251 •

Ristorante Italiano serves a decent selection of Italian food and relatively cheap pizza. From the east exit of JR Shin-Iizuka Station, go straight until you reach the street. Turn left, go past the traffic light and 7-Eleven until you reach the restaurant on your left. At least a 30-minute walk so taxi might be easier. 1-1Kayanomori. 10:30am-10pm daily (last order 9:30pm) • 0948-22-4413 •

Sanzoku Nabe is an ideal place for large get-togethers. Warm yourself up in the winter with steaming pots of wholesome nabe. By car, it`s located on Route 200. 405 Namazuta. 11am-8:30pm daily • Free Dial 0120-361148 •

Sawabe is a small izakaya with original food and fun staff. Take JR Shin-Iizuka Station’s west exit and go straight down the street facing the station. Turn left after one block and the izakaya is opposite Iizuka Hospital. 17-9 Shin-Iizuka. 11am-6pm daily • 0948-25-1127 •

Stamina Taro is a huge buffet restaurant. Gorge on a wide range of Japanese and international food, including sushi, yakiniku, desserts and various Chinese-inspired dishes. Located within a ten-minute walk of the Iizuka kyoshokuin jutaku. 225-1 Kawashima. 11:30am-3pm, 4pm-10pm daily • 0948-24-1129 • lunch, dinner

Yajirobei has great food, cheap drinks and extremely helpful staff. It’s an excellent place to book for big parties. From the east exit of the JR Shin-Iizuka tation, turn right and go past the bicycle racks until you reach a street. Turn left and continue until you see a 7-Eleven, then turn right. Yajirobei is on the left. 516-2 Kayanomori. 5-11pm daily • 0948-21-0333 •

Bars & Clubs

Iizuka’s main nightlife hotspots are situated near Iizuka Bus Center. There are a number of snack bars and izakayas dotted around the area.

Darts Bar has big measures and well-traveled barmen. Take the street located between a pachinko parlor and open drug store and go straight. The bar, identifiable by its green-lit Heineken sign, is on the left. Yoshihara. 6pm—whenever customers leave, daily • 0948-22-2340

Fellows, a tiny but stylish bar/club popular with the younger crowd, is open later than most and hosts the occasional hip-hop night. The extensive cocktail menu is on the expensive side. Tel 0948 25-6724.

Rudies Café is just the place to hone your darts skills on the electronic boards, or just chill on the nice couches with your beverage. Located across the street from the Iizuka Bus Center and I-Town shopping plaza Iizuka-shi, Yoshihara-machi 7-5, 1F Opens between 5~6pm—4am or until last customer, Wed—Mon 0948-24-2466

Smith’s Landing is a small Western-style pub with live bands and many beers. There is a cover charge of a couple hundred yen.  8-10 Yoshihara, Iizuka-shi 0948-22-9001


Although Iizuka is well equipped for shopping, many people head up to Nogata for the Aeon shopping center and the Bikkuri-ichi, a fantastic weekend market. To get there, take the train north to Nogata then the #13 bus from Nogata Bus Station, or drive north on Route 200 for about 15 minutes until you see Aeon on the right.

I-town in Iizuka has a range of shops including Best Denki (electronics) and a good supermarket with lots of fresh produce. Located right next to the Iizuka Bus Center 6-1 Yoshihara 10am—8pm daily 0948-25-5803

Jusco in Iizuka City is smaller than other branches within the prefecture but still has many stores and restaurants. Take the #3 bus from Iizuka Bus Center and get off at Edakuni Niku. 666-48 Edakuni. 10am-10pm daily • 0948-26-1717

Fukufukudo is a lovely little bakery specializing in croissants and sweet cakes. From Shin-Iizuka station go straight down the street opposite the station for two blocks until you see the yellow sign on the left. 10am-10pm daily. Tel 0948-23-8511.

Go-ryu This fantastic liquor store is the hub of the Iizuka wine society. A wide selection of wines from all over the world is hidden in the cool little cellar at the back. However, as is to be expected in a country lacking in good wine, it is expensive, with bottles ranging from ¥1000 to 10 or 20 times that. The owner enjoys speaking English. Find it on the street directly opposite Shin-Iizuka Station from the west exit • 11-3 Shin-Iizuka 8:40am—8:30pm, Mon—Sat 0948-22-1321

Ka-sansushi Try the amazing homemade maki-zushi (hence the ka-san which means mother) but get there early before everything is gone. To reach it, take a right coming out of the Iizuka Bus Center and go straight until you see the takoyaki stand on your right and you’ll see it next door • 1-1 Iizukashi Miyamachi, Matsuda biru (building), 1F 9:30am-6:30pm (earlier if sold out), Mon–Sat?0948-22-7831

Kayanomori has a strip on Route 201 towards Tagawa with several good restaurants and shops.

Tonbo is a small store where you can have your kimono or yukata hand-made. Just bring your own material. It can be found on the street directly opposite JR Shin-Iizuka Station from the west exit, past the Go-ryu liquor store on your right • Mon-Sat 10am-5pm, Mon—Sat • 0948- 23-8020


A Price sells many globally imported goods, including discount spices and juices. Turn right out of JR Shin-Iizuka Station’s west exit and at the first intersection turn left. Count five traffic lights after the first intersection and A Price is on your left. 1-2-29 Katashima. 9:30am-6:30pm daily • 0948-21-5031

Aso is a chain supermarket with several stores in Chikuho. They have a great selection of local produce and the most accessible branch is close to the Iizuka kyoshokuin jutaku, close to the Shin-Iizuka Post Office • 195-2 Katao • 9:30am—10pm daily • 0948-22-8750

Halloday is great if you have a car, with a wide selection of groceries including fresh produce. Catch the #2 bus in front of Shin- Iizuka Station 680-5 Kawazu 9am—11pm daily 0948-26-5550

Honmachi Arcade in the town centre has a reasonable variety of stores. There are a host of local corner stores selling decent fruit, vegetables, meat and fish. To get there, coming out from the Iizuka Bus Center, turn right and go straight past the takoyaki stand and Ka-san Sushi (listed above). The arcade will be on the left in front of the Lawsons convenience store.

Inatsuki Daiei supermarket, Tento, has fresh local farm produce. Fresh fruits, vegetables, meat and fish are all good here. 21

Trial is an abundantly-stocked superstore selling, among other things, sports gear, electronic devices, clothes and groceries at low prices. A game center and bakery add to the heady retail atmosphere. Turn right after exiting the JR Iizuka Station and go straight until an intersection. Turn left, go straight and it’s on your right. 40-1 Tokuzen Iizuka-shi. Open 24 hours daily • 0948-26-2229

Another branch in Kamisho, Kamashi, is less crowded and more organized. Open 10am-10pm daily • 0948-26-7676


Iizuka Cinema Central  features some foreign films, but options and show times are limited. Evening shows start early, around 6:30pm. The late showing kicks off at around 9pm on Saturdays. Find the street opposite the Iizuka Bus Center between a pachinko parlor and an open drug store. Go straight one block and it will be on your left. • 8-48 Yoshihara • times depend on showing

Media Station No. 1 NO.1 is the only place near the Iizuka jutaku for renting videos and DVDs.  Go across the bridge from Gooday (right at the Ringer Hut) and it’s about 1km further down on the right-hand side. 288-13 Yokota 0948-24-5444

Karaoke Santa  is a cheap, bring-your-own-drink karaoke joint. Take a 17-minute bus ride from in front of the JR Shin-Iizuka Station, heading towards Miyata, and get off at Koubukurochu . 330-1 Naka, Iizuka-shi. 10am-5am daily • 0948-28-4420 • http://www.megumi-f.co.jp/santas.html

Cotton Club is a salary-man-style karaoke venue opposite Shin-Iizuka Station.

Iizuka Ice Palace offers seasonal ice-skating and hockey. From the east exit, go past the bicycle racks until you reach a street; turn left. Go past the 7-Eleven and up the stairs of the green building on the left, near Iizuka Police Station. 56-1 Kayanomori, Iizuka-shi. Hours depend on time of year and group you wish to join • 0948-24-0881

Urban Square features billiards, bowling and a game center. By car, located on Route 200 at the junction with Route 201. From the Iizuka Bus Center, leave by the entrance from which all the buses depart and turn right. Turn left at the first major intersection and the game center is on your left. 1-10-44 Katashima. 9am-12midnight daily • 0948-21-0683


Iizuka Taikukan (City Gym) is near the Jusco shopping center. There is a shorinjikempo martial arts club and a badminton club among other activitiesand a small but well-fitted training room is provided. Exiting Iizuka Bus Center’s main entrance, turn left and go past a Lawson until you hit the first major intersection. Turn left and the gym is on the other side of the street. 666-11 Edakuni. 9am-10pm daily • 0948-22-6799

CAC Fitness Club (CAC) is a very small but decently fitted gym with many classes from yoga to hip-hop dance to boxercise. It also has a tiny swimming pool and sauna. Varying levels of membership: ¥6500 a month (go as often as you want); ¥3500 a month (+¥300 each time you visit the gym); ¥2500 a month (classes only, +¥200 each time you visit).  It`s a ten-minute walk from the jutaku on Route 200 towards Nogata, next to the Stamina Viking restaurant (mentioned above). 2425 Namazuta, Iizuka-shi • 10am—10:30pm • 0948-22-1768

Chikuho Heights, aside from its onsen, has a large park with a basketball court, tennis courts and a swimming pool. When the pool is open, it’s a great place to spend time on weekends in the summer. By car, it`s located about 20 minutes from the Kayanomori area on Route 211 heading towards Tagawa. It is on the left across from a baseball field. 8-30 Niho • 11am-7pm daily • 0948-82-0240

Chikuho-machi in the south (recently merged with Iizuka-shi) has a small gym with treadmills and one or two weight machines. ¥100 per session.


Iizuka Byoin is a huge hospital five minutes walk on the west side of the JR Shin-Iizuka Station. 3-83 Yoshio. 8am-5pm daily • 0948-22-3800

Iizuka Shinritsu Byoin has doctors and nurses who speak a little English; reservations are a must. From the Iizuka Bus Center, take #3 bus and get off at Myojojidanchi. A 20~25 minute bus ride. 633-1 Benbun • 0948- 22-2980

Nishihara Medical Clinic  near JR Shin-Iizuka Station is the best of the smaller local clinics, as Nishihara Sensei speaks some English. From the station, go right and turn left at the intersection. The clinic is on your right next to the Iizuka shiyakusho. 4-10 Shintateiwa, Iizuka-shi. 2:30pm-5:30pm Mon-Fri, 9am-12:30pm Sat • 0948-25-0070


Iizuka City Library  has about 160,000 books available, only a few of which are in English, but provides plenty of quiet places to read or study. Opposite Cosmos Common. From Iizuka Bus Center go down the street towards the Onga River. Turn right on the street before the one next to the river and the library is on the right. 14-67 Iizuka, Iizuka-shi. 9:30am-7pm, closed Mon & holidays • 0948-22-5552 • http://www.iizuka-library.jp/

Joy Road is a travel agency that books domestic travel. No discounts available, but it is an accessible location for last-minute bookings. Located next to JR Shin-Iizuka Station’s ticket desk. 10am-6pm Mon to Fri • 0948-22-1800