A vibrant city of contemporary art, vivid azaleas, and local crafts
Kurume is a city in the southwest of Fukuoka Prefecture , built on the banks of the Chikugo River. It is a former castle town surrounded by the Minou Mountain Range. There are many notable temples and shrines in Kurume including Suitengu Shrine, Bairinji Temple , and Daihonzan Naritasan Kurume Temple . Several Japanese crafts are also local to the area, including Kurume kasuri textiles and Rantai lacquerware.
- Daihonzan Naritasan: The temple's 62-meter statue of the Mother Kannon can be seen for miles around
- Food and drink: The Jojima area has the third highest concentration of sake breweries in Japan, while Kurume City has the highest number of yakitori shops per capita in Japan
- Azaleas: The azalea is Kurume city's symbolic flower and blooms in abundance from late April
How to Get There
Kurume is well connected to Fukuoka City by train.
Take the Nishitetsu Line from Nishitetsu Fukuoka Station to Nishitetsu Kurume Station. The ride takes about 40 minutes. Or, take the JR Line from Hakata Station to Kurume Station in as little as 35 minutes.
Shrines and temples
There are many notable shrines and temples in Kurume. At Suiten-gu Shrine, visitors pray to the God of Water and Easy Childbirth, while many visit Bairin-ji Temple for its collection of plum trees and its particularly ascetic form of Zen meditation.
Just outside Kurume City is Daihonzan Naritasan Kurume Temple . Its main feature, a 62-meter statue of the Mother Kannon, can be seen from afar and is a useful landmark on the train ride from Fukuoka to Kurume. Inside the statue is a spiral staircase which allows you to climb to the top. Windows open to provide a view across southern Fukuoka Prefecture .
The Kurume azalea is the flower of the city and is adored by locals and visitors alike. The flowers bloom from late April to mid-May, and they can be seen in abundance throughout the city. Particularly good places to see the blooms include Kurume Forest Azalea Park and the Kurume World Tsutsuji Center.
An excellent collection of Japanese contemporary art can be found at the Ishibashi Museum of Art. Artists featured include Aoki Shigeru, Sakamoto Hanjiro, and Koga Harue, all of whom were at the forefront of the contemporary Japanese painting movement and residents of the city of Kurume.
Kurume is known for Kurume kasuri, an indigo-dyed cotton fabric that has been designated a National Important Intangible Asset and a National Traditional Craft Product. Kurume kasuri originated in the latter part of the 18th century and was used throughout Japan to make casual working clothes. Several shops still make the fabric using traditional methods, a process which takes months of labor. Other shops have mechanized the process to create new patterns and clothing styles.
Rantai lacquerware is another product indigenous to Kurume. This traditional bamboo ware is made from locally grown bamboo that is split and woven and then repeatedly coated with lacquer. Rantai lacquerware comes in many varieties including chopsticks and chairs.
Food and drink
Kurume is home to several notable dishes. It is a local legend that tonkotsu ramen, the pork broth soup now so closely associated with Fukuoka , was invented in Kurume, and restaurants serving the dish can be found all over the city.
Kurume has the highest number of yakitori shops per capita, with eight restaurants per 10,000 residents. The charcoal-grilled meat is a specialty of the city, and regular events are held in the town to celebrate the dish.
In the Jojima area, a large number of sake breweries use the pure waters of the Chikugo River to create high-quality sake. The area is the third most concentrated sake brewing area in Japan with some 18 breweries crowding the banks of the river.