Located in Fukuoka Kitakyushu, Mojiko is a historic port that’s filled with retro-styled buildings and is famed as the birthplace of yaki (“baked”) curry. It’s con-nected to Shimonoseki across the Kanmon Strait via an underwater pedestrian tunnel, which is a unique engineering marvel. Shimonoseki is home to several his-toric shrines and architectural landmarks that make it a worthy destination in it-self, as well as featuring a lively market where you can feast on fresh sashimi. In this article, we’ll introduce the highlights of both cities, together with a popular walking route to help you make the most of your time sightseeing. We’ll also ex-plain the various options for getting to Mojiko from Hakata, whether you’re short on time or want the cheapest transport possible!
Access form Hakata to Mojiko
There are three different ways to access Mojiko, which we’ll detail below. You should keep in mind that the actual fare may differ depending on the payment method and/or ride time.
1. [Fastest option] Travel along the Sanyo Shinkansen (Hakata-Kokura-Mojiko)
The fastest method is to take the Sanyo Shinkansen, with the journey from Haka-ta to Mojiko taking around 46 minutes and costing 3,880 yen one way. Be aware that you’ll need to change to the JR Kagoshima Main Line at Kokura Station and that the Shinkansen between Hakata and Kokura is not covered by the Kyushu Rail Pass, so an extra fee will be charged.
2. [Covered by the Kyushu Pass] Take the Limited Express Sonic (Hakata-Kokura-Mojiko)
If you have a JR Kyushu Pass, then your best option is to take the Limited Ex-press Sonic, which is covered by all but the JR Kyushu Rail Pass South. The journey takes approximately one hour and four minutes from Hakata to Mojiko and costs 2,550 yen one way. As above, you’ll need to change to the JR Kago-shima Main Line at Kokura Station.
the Limited Express Sonic
3. [Cheapest option] Take the semi-rapid train (Hakata-Mojiko)
The cheapest option is to take the semi-rapid train from Hakata to Mojiko, with the journey taking around one hour and 36 minutes and costing 1,500 yen one way. It doesn’t require a transfer but does take a long time, making it a good op-tion only for those who want to sightsee at a leisurely pace.
he semi-rapid train
Highlights of Mojiko
From the late 19th century, Mojiko served as an international trading port and still retains many of its prominent buildings from this period. A highlight is Mo-jiko Station, which was constructed to facilitate the flourishing trade with the rest of Asia. It serves as the terminus of the Kagoshima Main Line and features a zero mile marker indicating the starting point of the Kyushu Railway.
Mojiko Station Building
A short stroll away is the eye-catching former Moji Customs Building where you’ll find an exhibition room detailing its historic customs operations and im-port-restricted goods, as well as old methods for smuggling drugs. On the 31st floor of the adjacent building is the Mojiko Retro Observation Room, which of-fers spectacular views of the old port and Shimonoseki across the Kanmon Straits. At the heart of the Mojiko Retro District is the Blue Wing Moji, a 108-meter-long pedestrian-only drawbridge that’s beautifully illuminated at night.
Moji Customs Building
Blue Wing Moji
You can delve into the region’s maritime history at the Kanmon Strait Museum before walking along the seafront promenade to Kaikyo Plaza. This charming waterfront shopping area is home to several eateries and stores selling artisan goods and local handicrafts. Also of architectural note in Mojiko are the Ameri-can-style offices of the Moji Yusen Building and the Osaka Shosen Building, which was built in a Vienna Secession style in 1917 as the company’s Moji Branch.
Osaka Shosen Building
Sample the Mojiko specialty - yaki curry
While you’re visiting Mojiko, don’t miss the opportunity to try the local special-ty - yaki curry (“baked curry”). Served with rice and topped with cheese and/or egg, yaki curry is said to have evolved in the 1950s or 1960s when a local restau-rant owner placed leftover curry into the oven to give it more texture. It quickly became a port favorite and other restaurants began replicating it. Yaki curry is now available at various restaurants throughout the old port area, including Cur-ry Honpo, which has made a name for its delicious Old Baked Curry.
Old Baked Curry 1100yen
Cur-ry Honpo exterior
Walkthrough the sea from Mojiko to Shimonoseki
One of the area’s most unique experiences is the walk from Mojiko to Shimono-seki through an “underwater tunnel” that traverses the Kanmon Strait. It extends for 780 meters, with the walking time between the two sides taking around 15 minutes and the entrances on both sides positioned around 60 meters below the water’s surface. In the middle of the tunnel, there is a sign denoting the border between Fukuoka Prefecture and Yamaguchi Prefecture - perhaps the only under-sea prefectural border in the world! If you press both the commemorative stamps installed in the elevator halls, you can receive a Kanmon TOPPA! Commemora-tive Certificate at the tourist information center as a memento of your experience.
underwater tunnel entrance
Highlights in Shimonoseki
While visiting Shimonoseki, we recommend you follow the short walking route that leads from the Kanmon Tunnel to the Karato Market. It takes around 15 minutes and passes by some of the city’s most popular sites. You’ll see the impressive Akama Shrine, a Shinto landmark that’s dedicated to a Japanese emperor who died as a child in a battle nearby. It’s painted a bright vermillion color and is equally stunning at night when it’s beautifully illuminated.
Also not to miss is the Kameyama-gu Shrine, which was established in the 9th century and features a huge granite torii gate. End your walk at the Karato Market where you can feast on the freshest sashimi in town for breakfast or lunch and see a variety of seafood caught in the surrounding waters.
Access from Shimonoseki to Mojiko
A ferry service runs from Shimonoseki to Mojiko and takes just five minutes, with impressive views of the Kanmon Bridge and Ganryu Island along the way. You can step onboard at the Karato Terminal in Shimonoseki and will drop at the Marine Gate Moji in Mojiko. One way fares cost 400 yen for adults and 200 yen for children.