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Retro Mojiko

“Retro” Mojiko is a port town on the northern tip of Kyushu full of art-deco and historic buildings that were built when the city was an important early trading port.  Everything here is retro – at least for tourist benefit.  It’s a very pleasant town, and worth a stay and a walk around.

Mojiko is located on the southern side of the Kanmon Strait, which separates Kyushu from Honshu – it is only a few hundred metres across at the narrowest point.  Before the current Kanmon Ohashi was built, Mojiko was the town from where the ferry departed for Shimonoseki on the Kyushu side.  It was also opened up as a port city, first for exporting coal, then general trade, in the early 20th century.  Now the town centre is kept in a period theme, to attract tourists, thriving on stories of Albert Einstein’s visit and sales of bananas.  The town’s “meibutsu” (famous foods) – every Japanese town has to have something to sell off to visitors – are yaki-curry (baked curry), fugu (poisonous globefish) and “nama-caramel” (raw caramel).  Not an ideal combination, but I guess it reflects foreign influence as a trading port and local seafood.

This is Mojiko Railway Station.  It is the oldest railway station (building) in Kyushu, and is kept in period style.  Upstairs is a small museum and photo gallery of times past.

Mojiko Railway Station

This building now serves as the town library.  It’s modelled on a similar building (once?) located in Dalian, China, which I think was also a foreign trading port.

Mojiko library

This is the former Moji Mitsui Club, where Albert Einstein apparently famously stayed on his visit to Japan.  He learned on his voyage to Japan that he had won a Nobel prize, so he arrived a Nobel laureate.  I guess back on those times, a visitor of this standing would have been a very big deal.

Old Mitsui Mojiko Club. Now a museum dedicated to the time when Albert Einstein stayed here.

This building was the OSK Line building.  It’s now a gallery.

Former OSK Line building

The Kanmon Ohashi links Honshu (on the left) with Kyushu (on the right).  It’s a busy shipping lane, and some rather large ships pass through here.  The bridge was opened in 1973, linking two of the main Japanese islands.  There are now also road and rail tunnels.

Kanmon Bridge - Honshu to the left, Kyushu to the right

The waiting room of the Mojiko station – still in period style (even the sign).

Mojiko Railway Station waiting room

Bananaman!  Apparently banana sales took off in Mojiko when they were imported here.  However, the website advertised on Bananaman’s chest doesn’t seem to be live.  It’s still obligatory to line up for a photo with Bananaman, so I obliged.

Bananaman.

This building is the old Customs Building, and is now another museum about trade and the Customs service.

Old Customs building

Kanmon Ohashi at twilight:

Kanmon Bridge

Mojiko harbour lit up at night:

Mojiko harbour

An old bank building in Mojiko (now a branch of the Yamaguchi Bank):

Yamaguchi Bank building

On display in the station building is a set of certificates commemorating the sister-station relationship between Mojiko and Flinders Street Stations.  I wonder whether the Victorian side has forgotten about its relationship with Mojiko? It certainly has forgotten how to run a train system, so I hope someone from Mojiko (or anywhere in Japan for that matter) might go to Melbourne to tell them how to get it right.

Mojiko Station and Flinders Street Station are sister stations.  Who would have thought?  Maybe they can send someone to Melbourne to teach them how to run a train system.

I’ve posted more photos of Mojiko are posted at a photo album page.

One Comment

  1. […] revealed itself to be a mixture of 1930s stone structures, similar to the the style seen in Mojiko, and old Edo-style storehouses.  If only motorised traffic was diverted off this street, as it […]

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