Akizuki is a charming historical town located in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture. Popular for cherry blossoms in spring and autumn leaves in fall, Akizuki is a town where you can immerse yourself in both nature and history. Because of its mossy stone walls, castle ruins and enchanting atmosphere, people often refer to it as Chikuzen’s Little Kyoto. Famous director, Akira Kurosawa, was so inspired by the area and its history that he directed The Hidden Fortress (1958) about the Akizuki clan. George Lucas has credited Kurosawa’s film as being a great inspiration for Star Wars (1977).
Much of the town is structured around its castle ruins and the street leading to it, Suginobaba (杉の馬場). Suginobaba features not only authentic tea houses, samurai residences and the town’s museum, but it’s also impressively lined with a 500 metre stretch of sakura trees. In the springtime this historical street becomes one of Fukuoka’s best spots for viewing cherry blossoms.
The notable Akazuki castle was first built in 1203 by Harada Tanekatsu. Today, the stone walls and gate houses are all that remain of the impressive castle. The kuromon (黒門 black gate) has been restored and serves as the main gate to the ruins.
Akizuki can be reached by train, bus, car or bicycle.
From Fukuoka city, Akizuki is just a 45 minute drive. If you’re coming by train, take the JR Kagoshima Line from Hakata Station to Kiyama Station and change to the Amagi Railway to reach Amagi Station. Take the bus from Amagi Station to reach Akizuki town.
Alternatively, bicycles are available to rent from the Amagi Tourism Office right outside the station. From Amagi Station to Akizuki Town by bicycle takes approximately 35 minutes.