PARKS

Although Kitakyushu has a reputation as being in the rust belt and of being a blue collar town, the city`s reputation as an environmental trendsetter is slowly being established. There is a lot of green space; the city ranks second in the nation in municipal parkland per capita. Here are just some of the possible nature getaway places along with some of the city`s cultural attractions. Get out and enjoy the offerings.

Itozu no Mori Koen (Jp) is the new park that replaced what used to be Itozu Zoo. It is now a greener and more educational center. Various events are put on throughout the year. The park is open from 9:00 to 17:00. It is located in Kokura Kita-ku at 4-1-8 Kami Itozu qk㓞4-1-8. Buses running between Yahata and Kokura stop near the park's entrance. Entrance fee for adults is 800yen, 400yen for students and 100yen for children. The park is closed on Tuesdays.
Green Park (Jp) is located in Wakamatsu-ku. The park features about 200 hectares of space. There is a small animal park, a tower, and a large greenhouse. Each of these attractions has separate charges (300yen per person, 150yen for children) from the entrance fee. The park is open from 9:00 to 17:00. Entrance to the park is 100yen, and only 50yen for junior high students and younger. The easiest way to get there is by car. Parking is a one-time charge from 300yen. Buses go to, or near the park from various locations around the city. The most frequent bus is the city bus (scoX) from Kokura Station North exit; there are 8 buses on weekdays and 9 buses on Sundays and holidays taking about 40 minutes. The park is closed on Tuesdays and over the New Year holiday.
Hiraodai Countryside Park (Jp) is a newly opened complex on the karst plateau in Kokura Minami-ku. The park's renovation has brought about lots of changes. There is a village zone where restaurants and shops can be found. Workshops are also located in the village zone where you can try your hand at various crafts or take courses for a more serious attempt. There is a large open space with a partially covered stage area for concerts and other events. A playground for kids, fruit picking, and a soba field are now there, too. And of course lots of nature.
The park is open from 9:00 to 17:00 every day until November; weekends, holidays, and during summer vacation the park is open till 18:00. Entrance is free. Parking costs 300yen for regular cars and 1,000yen for large vehicles. For more information see the website or call 452-2715.
There is no public transportation to the park. A taxi service is available for a nominal charge. The taxi leaves once an hour from the Nakatani bus terminal (JԌ) and stops by the JR Ishiharamachi Station (Όw) on the Hita-Hikosan Line (cFR) and by the Hiraodai Entrance (). The no.35 bus from Kokura in direction of Hiraodai stops at the Hiraodai Entrance before going on to the park. Depending on where you get on and off the taxi the charge is from 300-500yen for an adult. For more information about the taxi call Hiraodai Kankou taxi at 451-0201.
Shiranoe Botanical Garden (Jp) in Moji-ku sits on a hill overlooking Suo Sea. An easy nature hike on a one-kilometer course circles its way through the park. Flowers of all four seasons are found in the park.
Yamada Green Area (Jp) is a nature park with about 2 hectares of green space. It boasts Japan's biggest log house and has an Eco-Play park.
For a great view from above, the top of Sarakura mountain (Jp) makes an ideal spot. It is also the only mountain from which all five wards can be taken in. There`s Hobashira cable car that`ll make the way to the top a lot easier. It takes you nearly to the top. From there it`s either a short 10 minute hike to the top, or you can take the short chairlift ride to the peak.

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