Munakata city is born from many municipalities grouping done since 1954, but Munakata area is motioned in 7th AC century old texts. So Munakata is really older than his actual status.
In this area, bordered by 4 sacred mountains, there was a little village called Akama. In the middle of 18th century, Akama quickly became a important post town on Karatsu road when Satsuma domain’s lords (Kagoshima prefecture) decided to change their official route to Edo (Tokyo).
Then a Tea house was built to enable Kyushu’s Daimyo (lords) to stop and rest . This road became safe and the number of travelers increased. A lot of hostels, restaurants and shops were built too to meet the increased demand.
After Imperial restoration (1868), and the industrial revolution, Akama-juku did not lose its dynamism and became the place to go for shopping. Most of customers came from new towns founded near, next to the coal mines (like Nogata).
Nowaday, some old houses are still there. From Akama-kan, an amazing edo period style house, let’s go into 18th century feodal Japan with volonteer guides !
During the 30’s, Idemitsu Kosan Co.’s founder, Idemitsu Sazou, provided funding and used his influence to organize Munakata Great shrine restoration works. During the 50’s he also help to the archeological researchs in Oki-no-shima island. Thanks to Idemitsu who refused to fire employees because of economic critical situation after WW2 defeat, the registration of Oki-no-shima to UNESCO was possible.
5min walking from kyoikudai-mae JR station. More informations about trains on this page