Let’s go to Kyushu on the Kanmon ferryboat, which crosses the Kanmon Strait in 5 minutes.
The city on the westernmost point of Japan’s Honshu Island is Shimonoseki, and the other side of the strait is the island of Kyushu.
Actually, it takes only 5 minutes to get to Kyushu by ferryboat from the pier at Karato, an area with a popular market, an aquarium and so on.
The Kanmon ferryboat comes and goes every 20 minutes, so you can get to Kyushu very easily and quickly.
Moji Port has been prosperous as a distribution base since old times, and this port retains the atmosphere of those years and its “retro and modern” buildings.
So, we will show you some architecture that you can visit on foot from the pier or the station, within a range of about 600 meters.
Kanmon Line ferryboat (the Karato Pier, Shimonoseki side port)
*Ganryu-jima Line leaves from the same pier.
Address／1-5, Arukapoto, Shimonoseki-shi, Yamaguchi
JR Mojiko Station
The JR Mojiko Station building had been under conservation and repair construction for several years, and the reconstruction was finished in 2019.
Now the building had been reborn with the same appearance as when it opened in 1914.
The two-storied wooden station building is done in what is called “Neo-Renaissance style.”
There are many structures and traces which allow you to see the history of the station yard here and there.
A movie panel tells you about the station’s past and can be played in several languages (Japanese, English, Korean, and Chinese).
Moji Yusen Building
The building in front of Mojiko Station is the Moji branch of Nippon Yusen, and was completed in 1927.
Now, this is an office building for several companies.
Can you see the convenience store on the ground floor?
The color and exterior of the convenience store is harmonized with the facade of the building.
Former Moji Mitsui Club
The “Former Moji Mitsui Club” is located on the same street as the previously mentioned buildings.
This building was constructed as a reception hall and accommodation for the customers of Mitsui Bussan Moji branch in 1921.
Surprisingly, Albert Einstein and his wife stayed here in the past.
At present there is a restaurant and an event hall are on the ground floor, and the “Einstein Memorial Room” is on the second floor of this building.
Former Osaka Shosen
The Osaka Shosen (merchant vessels’ company) used Moji Port as one of the biggest bases of its continental sea route, and the company built this building in 1917.
This renovated building is now used as a café, shop and gallery which exhibits and sells artworks by local artists.
Kanmon Strait area is designated as “Kanmon – sacred place of photo weddings.”
The public and private sectors are working in coordination with each other and promoting travel combined with photo-shooting in this area.
It is especially popular among foreign couples.
Dalian Friendship Memorial
The “Dalian Friendship Memorial” was built to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the establishment of a friendship-city agreement between Kitakyushu City and Dalian in China.
This work of architecture was copied from a historical building in Dalian.
There is a restaurant on the ground floor, and on the second floor there is a rest space (Wi-Fi is available) and a corner devoted to the introduction of Dalian.
The tall building behind on the left is the “Mojiko Retro Observation Room.”
Former Moji Zeikan (Customs House)
Former Moji Customs House is located diagonally across from the Memorial, and it was built in 1912.
This building was customs office until the early Showa era (1930s), and was renovated with red bricks in 1994.
You can find an exhibition about customs service, a rest space, and a cafe on the ground floor, and see the view from the observation room on second floor.
This is not related to any retro architecture, but the “mojiko” monument is also pretty popular for photo-shooting.
Now, let’s go back to the direction of Mojiko Station.
There are some shops serving “yaki curry” on the seaside, so please enjoy looking for somewhere to eat lunch.
Yaki curry literally means baked curry and rice, which is Moji Port’s specialty food (doesn’t it sound so delicious?).
Former Dalian Sea Route Terminal
This is building was built in 1929, and had been used as a passengers’ terminal for international routes.
It was open after renewal in 2013, and now it is a big facility used as a rest area.
The corridor on the second floor was a former deck, and this is the most characteristic point of this building.
Kanmon Strait Museum
“Kanmon Strait Museum” is located on the opposite side of Former Dalian Sea Route Terminal, and was open after renovation in September 2019.
The glassed-in decks are built in the image of luxury cruise ship, and from here you can watch ships going and coming on the strait up close.
Also, you can enjoy some experience-type programs and an exhibition with very advanced technology to learn the history of the Kanmon Strait.
Photographs and text by Yuka Hesaka
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