Kitakyūshū (北九州, ) is a large city in Fukuoka prefecture on the island of Kyushu, Japan. Together with Shimonoseki it is part of the Kanmon Straits area. In terms of area it is the largest city in Kyushu, though Fukuoka has a larger population. The population of Kitakyushu is about one million (or 1.3 million including Shimonoseki). Kitakyushu was created in 1963 from the five smaller cities of Kokura (小倉), Moji (門司), Tobata (戸畑), Wakamatsu (若松) and Yahata (八幡), and it retains this sense of being a country area with much diversity and beautiful nature, despite its reputation as a steel town.
Kokura, the heart of Kitakyushu, is an ancient feudal castle town guarding the Straits of Shimonoseki. Kokura was supposed to be the target of the second nuclear bomb in World War II. However, it was cloudy on the day of the attack and the plane diverted to Nagasaki instead. The modern city of Kitakyushu dates back only to 1963, when the cities of Moji, Kokura, Tobata, Yahata and Wakamatsu were merged by administrative fiat.