Kurume City Plaza opened in Kurume on April 27 in 2016. The complex includes a multi-purpose concert hall for performances and an exhibition space fit for conferences.
Kurume city is located in Chikugo district, the southern part of Fukuoka prefecture. It is about 40 km away from Fukuoka city and the third largest city in the prefecture. Its population is about 300,000 in the area of about 230 square kilometers. Kurume city has good transport links, e.g., an expressway, conventional lines, and JR Kyushu-Shinkansen line running through the city.
Chikugo river flows from northeastern to the western area of the city, forming a fertile breadbasket. In the eastern part of the city, Mino mountain range lies like Byobu, a Japanese folding screen. As the city is in inland, the temperature changes largely during the day and four seasons. These natural environments provide many blessings, such as water, fruits, crops, Sake, and so on.
Chikugo district has evolved into the center of the southern region of Fukuoka from the old government established in the Nara era (AD 710 – 794) and Heian era (794 – 1185). During the Edo era (1603 – 1868) Kurume flourished as a castle town of Arima family. The ruins of the castle and many temples now remind us of that time.
After the Meiji era (1868 – 1912), the city was developed as a city of woven fabrics called Kurume-kasuri and rubber industries. Bridgestone Corporation has become one of the global companies. Hisashige Tanaka nicknamed ‘Thomas Edison of the East’ was born in Kurume, who made various automaton clocks and wooden robots called Karakuri-ningyo. The company established by him has led to Toshiba Corporation today.
Kurume has also produced Western-style painters such as Shigeru Aoki and Hanjiro Sakamoto who led modern Japanese art in the Meiji era and the following Taisho era (1912 – 1926). Activities related to music, arts, and sports are prevailing among citizen of this city now.
Kurume is also famous for its local foods．It is said to be the birthplace of Tonkotsu (pork-bone) ramen and to have the largest number of Yakitori (grilled chicken or pork) stores per population in Japan. Chikugo udon is loved by locals (udon is a traditional Japanese thick noodles made from flour). Especially, Gobo-ten udon (burdock root tempura udon) is the most pupular Chikugo udon.