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Tagawa-shi

at a glance

Tagawa-shi was once the center of the thriving coal industry for all of Japan. It also supports a limestone and cement industry founded in 1943, which cost it the top half of one of its tallest mountains, Kawara-dake. The population of 50,000 are renowned for their gritty characters and distinctive local dialect, Tagawa-ben

Serves as a base for access to the countryside areas of Chikuho both by rail on the Hita-Hikosan Line and by road

festivals

Hikosan Matsuri

different festivals held in January, March, April, June, September and November

Jinkosai Matsuri

3rd weekend of May

Coal Mining Festival

November

getting there

From Kitakyushu, the JR Hita-Hikosan Line connects JR Tagawa-Ita Station directly with Kokura, while the Heisei Chikuho Tetsudo Ita Line runs between JR Tagawa-Ita and Nogata. From Iizuka City, take the JR Gotoji Line from JR Shin-Iizuka Station to JR Tagawa-Gotoji Station. To reach some locations listed below, switch trains at JR Tagawa-Gotoji, heading to JR Tagawa-Ita.

From Fukuoka City, catch an express bus from the Tenjin Nishitetsu Bus Center directly to Tagawa

points of interest

Genji no Mori is hidden in the mountains of Akamura. You can visit an onsen, go for a country walk, watch the fireflies in summer, and camp out in autumn. There are also some nice temples and views.  From Tagawa Ita Station take the Heisei Chikuho eastbound to Genjinomori (seven stops).

Hiko-san is one of the highest mountains in the prefecture at around 1,200 meters. Located east of Tagawa, near the town of Soeda (signposted). It provides a challenging hike and on a clear day the views across the way to Oita-ken are fantastic. There are numerous hikes to do, but the best is to start at the top of the road (near the last temple) and ascend the mountain on the left side. Descend the steps to the fantastic Hiko-san temple at the end of your climb. There is an onsen at the base of the mountain for 500 yen. To get there, take the train from Tagawa (Ita or Gotoji, 45 minutes) to Hiko-san Station. You can get a bus from here to the trailhead (ten minutes, infrequent in the off season).

Michi-no-eki Oto Sakura Kaido is an area which sells specialty foods and hold festivals. It also has an onsen as well as doing things like holding outside performances by local dance classes occasionally. Around Christmas, they also host an illumination display. https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1121496-d2041592-Reviews-Michi_no_Eki_Oto_Sakurakaido-Oto_machi_Tagawa_gun_Fukuoka_Prefecture_Kyushu_Okin.html

Tagawa-shi Bijutsukan holds a collection of paintings by locals, has a gallery and holds workshops for children. A close walk from the JR Tagawa-Ita Station. Coming out from the station turn left and go straight. 11-56 Shin-machi, 9:30-5:30 Tue-Sun • 0947-42-6161

Tagawa-shi Sekitan Shiryoukan serves as a valuable legacy for the city’s old coal-mining culture with thousands of valuable artifacts on display such as original tools, full-sized replicas of dwellings miners lived in with their families, pictures portraying the history of coal mining and a reconstruction of a pit showing how they worked. There is also an extensive collection of works in the museum by acclaimed artist Sakubei Yamamoto. Coming out of the station, turn left and on your left there is a short tunnel that leads to the rear of the JR Tagawa-Ita Station; climb the hill and follow the signs. 2734-1 Tagawa-Ita. 9:30am-5pm, usually holiday Monday and 3rd Sunday of each month • 0947-44-5745

eating and drinking

Cafes

Alternative Space Hako is a cafe/bar built in two tunnels once used as bomb shelters to protect coal mine equipment in WWII. It often hosts art exhibitions and live events by local artists and musicians. If you’re tired of Kirin and Asahi, then this is the place for you, with beers imported from all over the world served at reasonable prices. From JR Tagawa-Ita Station, turn left and go through the tunnel leading to behind the train tracks. Climb the hill past the coal museum and it is on your right. 2721 Oaza-Ita. 7pm-1am Wed to Mon • 0947-46-2218

Restaurants

Tsuchinoko. People say Tagawa has the best food in Chikuho and it’s true!  Tsuchinoko is the best Izakaya out there and it serves a fusion of food!  The locals know it too because Tsuchinoko is always full of people.  One man runs the kitchen and usually has one or two helpers to do the rest.  He makes dishes like teppan kimchi fried rice, pizza, pasta with seasonal ingredients, the most delicious tamagoyaki, chili shrimp, etc.  However, the menu is all in Japanese so take somebody with you that can read it! If they like you enough (they will), you’ll even get dessert ‘service’- usually coffee and ice cream.  If you go a lot and they LOVE you, they will even give you a free dish- chef’s choice.  The chef plays some great music too!  Sometimes it’s throwback hip hop/R&B.  But if that’s not your type, just go for the food.  You won’t regret it. Tsuchinoko is located just 10 minutes walk from Tagawa Gotoji station: 911-2 Kawamiya, Tagawa. Their hours are from 18:00 ~ 3:00 (closed Sundays) but they may close earlier depending on business. Call for reservations • 0947-44-8646

Steven Spiel Burger. You no longer have to travel to Fukuoka city to eat a real hamburger! Excellent hamburger joint that opened March 2015.  They are open every day for lunch only except Sunday. Take out is common as it is small with only three tables.  It is located in Tagawa Ita- if you are exiting out of the Ita station, walk right and cross the street.  It is in a small alleyway on your right. Treat your hamburger craving here!   •0947-85-8468

Benkei yakitori’s chef is not renowned for her people skills, but at least you’ll get to hear some of the colorful Tagawa-ben dialect as you eat and drink. From JR Tagawa-Ita Station go left into an arcade, go straight until you reach a T-junction and turn right. When you see the ramen shop Marokatsu on your right, turn left and Benkei is on the left. 4-3 Ita-machi. 5pm to last customer, call first to check if open • 0947-45-7139

Saki is only open for lunch, but offers some of the tastiest teishoku anywhere in Chikuho. On Route 322 in Higashi-machi, opposite the Kenritsu University. The unique building, shaped like a Swiss chalet with its steep-sloping roof, is visible on your way into Tagawa from Kitakyushu. ¥¥

Takanohana Named in honor of the famous yokozuna whose sons visit from time to time, this chanko-nabe shop serves the stock diet of rikishi as well as top-class sushi and sashimi. Lunchtime bentos (¥600) are outstanding and evening meals can be eaten in one of the booths around the dohyo, a sumo ring, which dominates the ground floor of the restaurant. Best to get a taxi from JR Tagawa-Ita Station. 1776-1 Owaza Kawamiya. 7pm-1am Wed-Mon • 0947-45-8585 •

Shopping

Sun Live is a great place for groceries. It’s a big supermarket that has almost everything you need but is a little out of the way unless you have a car, located on Route 201 going towards Iizuka City 1693-1 Kawamiya 10am—8pm Sun to Fri, 9:30am—8pm Sat 0947-46-4300

For everything that you can’t find, jump on the Heisei Chikuho Tetsudo Line from Tagawa Ita to Nogata, where you’ll find the enormous mall AEON, open daily til 10pm. For more information see the Nogata section.

Fitness

 

Sougoutaikukan Hoken Center isn’t exactly the cutting edge of fitness training, but at ¥210 a time, who cares? The locals may take some time to warm to you but once they do, you’ll find this as good of a place to work out as any air-conditioned supergym. No TVs, no music and no eye-candy. It has however a well equipped gym in the back of the center well and offers weekly yoga classes. From the rear exit of Tagawa-Ita Station, walk up the hill to the coal museum. Walk through the museum grounds, get out onto the street and go left. At the traffic lights, turn right, walk past the Homewide store, turn left on the street after the Joyfull restaurant. Look out for the sign labeled only in kanji and turn right, go up the hill past the swimming pools, sports grounds and the center will be on the left 2550-1 Tagawa-shi Owazuita 9am—10pm 0947-44-7370