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Bridgestone Culture Center / 石橋文化センター
Price: 0 yen
The first time I went to 石橋文化センター / Ishibashi Culture Center, it was around a year before moving to Kurume. It was a great park to explore in with plenty of benches for eating lunch and we also spent a little time in the city’s Central Library. The Center was funded by Mr. Ishibashi from what I hear – he’s the founder of Bridgestone tire company and from Kurume.
Now that I have a library card and live nearby, I go to the Culture Center at least every couple months for meeting friends or for an event. The library hosts free movies on a couple Sunday afternoons every month, and some of them are in English with Japanese subtitles. They’re almost all older movies without copyright restrictions, but it’s still a fun way to enjoy a Sunday afternoon for free. We’ve seen Dumbo, Rebel Without a Cause, and Queen of Africa so far.
Nonaka Park / 野中公園 is one of the bigger parks in Kurume, with a koi pond and fountain, Japanese and English style gardens, a café, teahouse, and gift shop. We can enjoy plum and cherry blossoms in spring and roses during early summer. In fact, there is a rose matsuri and other events for specific flowers planted around the park.
The Culture Center also has a few halls for events like concerts, sometimes for free, like the only one I’ve attended. There is also the Ishibashi Art Museum near the fountain and library.
Car and bike parking is available, it’s possible to walk from Nishitetsu Kurume station but not close, and there is a bus stop in front of the park on ‘Bunka Center Dori.’
Bonus points for being mostly free.