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Kitakyushu monorail

Gate of Kitakyushu monorail Kokura line at Kokura station

Kitakyushu is a a city located at northernmost Kyushu island. It is the second populous city in Fukuoka prefecture after Fukuoka city but it was the first city to reach one million inhabitants in Kyushu and the first city to be as designated city outside of Tokyo-Osaka-Nagoya areas.

Then, it was the first non-prefectural capital city to reach population of one million. However, Kitakyushu was born when 5 cities in the area merged in 1963. Kokura was the one of the cities to merge and was divided into two wards, Kokura-kita and Kokura-minami.

There is a monorail system running in these two wards. The line is called Kokura line and operated by Kitakyushu Urban Monorail co.(literally Kitakyushu Rapid Transit), which is the third sector company owned 52% by the city. Actually no one calls Kitakyushu Urban Monorail but either Kitakyushu monorail or Kokura monorail. It is the only monorail system in Kyushu. It is one of the nine remaining monorail systems in Japan and it is a straddle-beam line.

Kokura line opened in 1985 between Heiwa-dori and Kikugaoka. Then, extended to Kokura station from Heiwa-dori in 1993. It is used as a commuter line rather than for tourists, connecting Kokura-kita which is the city center of Kitakyushu and Kokura-minami which is the residential area with growing population. Monorail's Kokura station is located inside the JR Kokura station building which makes great comfort in case of transfer between JR lines and the monorail.

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