The Former Moji Customs Bldg. was a customs office constructed in 1912. Since the original building was destroyed by fire soon after its completion, the building that exists today is the 2nd one. It was used until the completion of the old joint government office building that became the third office building in 1927. Because Moji Port was designated as the country’s special port of export to handle coal, rice, wheat, wheat flour, and sulfur in 1889, in the beginning the building was established as a satellite office for Nagasaki Customs. After the port was opened, imports as well as exports steadily grew, and in 1901 the amount of trade conducted exceeded that of Nagasaki Port. It developed into one of Japan’s leading trade ports to rank 4th nationwide behindafter Osaka., and Moji Customs became independent from Nagasaki Customs and was established as the 7th customs house in Japan on November 5, 1909. The Former Moji Customs Bldg. standing today was built on the site of the original building. It was designed by the architect, Eichi Sakuju under the guidance of Yorinaka Tsumaki. Yorinaka Tsumaki was born to a direct retainer of the shogun in the last days of the Tokugawa Shogunate and later became such a celebrated architect that he was counted among the three greatest masters of the Meiji architectural world. In 1883, he traveled to the United States and studied architecture at Cornell University, then later was dispatched to Germany when he worked for the Temporary Architectural Bureau of the Ministry of the Interior. He primarily was affiliated with Ende & Böckmann architectural office. After returning to Japan, he was involved in designing numerous government offices, including Tokyo Court, Nippon Kangyo Bank, and the Ministry of Finance. The Former Moji Customs Bldg. is one of the few buildings to which Tsumaki contributed that still stand. The building was used as a customs office for a short time, and after the customs office moved to Nishikaigan in 1927, it was sold to the private sector and utilized as an office building. Furthermore, tThe roof was destroyed by the Moji air raids in Moji in 1945. After the war, the windows were closed up and the building was used as a warehouse. At that time, both wings on the sea side and the entire 2nd-floor interior, from the floor frame to the interior finishing, were removed. It was devastated to such an extent that no traces of its original construction remained. However, the then-Port Authority of the City of Kitakyushu purchased the building because it is a rare building still in existence whose establishment was supervised by Yorinaka Tsumaki, and is an excellent red-brick construction from the Meiji period (1868–1912). Restoration work was carried out on the building for 4 years starting in 1991 to energize and promote tourism in the Moji Port area, and it opened together with other facilities as Mojiko Retro on March 25, 1995. The building was returned to its former appearance as the Moji Customs Bldg. The 1st floor has a spacious entrance hall with an atrium, a rest area, a coffee shop, and an exhibit room of permanent displays on Moji Customs. It is used as a place for residents to relax and as a multi-purpose hall.
Address： 1-24 Higashiminato-machi, Moji-ku, Kitakyushu, Fukuoka Prefecture
Tel： 093-321-4151, Mojiko Retro General Information
Hours : 9:00–17:00
Closed : Open
Fee : Free
Category: Constituent cultural properties
Genre: Story 1,2