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You are in: Fukuoka: Places To Go: Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine

4-7-1 Saifu, Dazaifu-city, Fukuoka-ken.
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Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine
Type: Temples/Shrines | Short Trips  (Qjmp: 7005)

Fukuoka's most famous shrine.
Information by Staff Reviewer

Located a little outside Fukuoka at the town of Dazaifu, this Shinto shrine is dedicated to the 9th century scholar Suguwara No Michizane. Michizane was exiled to Dazaifu after some dubious machinations at court by envious rivals. Heartbroken, he died in misery 2 years later. Dazaifu was at that time an important administrative centre of government.

The story goes that his favourite plum tree uprooted itself on the night he was exiled and flew down to root itself in Dazaifu. The tree can still be seen in front of the main shrine building.

The shrine was established in the beginiing of the 10th century to propitiate Michizane's soul. Michizane is considered the god of scholarship.(12,000 shrines honour him across Japan) Pupils and students visit it in droves to pray for examination success. It is one of the "Big Three" shrines in Fukuoka and is nationally famous.

Best times to visit is in Feb/March - as soon as the 6000 plum trees blossom (about a month before the cherry blossoms). Avoid public holidays if you can, it gets very crowded indeed.

The most important festival is the "Kyokusei-no-en" held on the first Sunday of March. Participants dress in heian style kimonos and sit along the banks of a stream. A cup of sake is floated down on a tray from the head of the stream. Participants must attempt to complete a 31 syllable waka poem before the boat reaches them. The ceremony
was first held in 958.

What to see:
The shrine building itself is impressive - the three bridges on the way in to the main area are also photogenic (the first one relates to the past, the next the present, the third bridge the future)

There are a LOT of places to visit in the general area of Dazaifu, so it is worth spending a day there.

Loads of parking

By Nishitetsu train from Tenjin to Dazaifu is best (you may have to change at Futsukaichi station). Come out of the station and turn right, then walk slightly uphill along the approaches to the shrine. There are a lot of picturesque shops and eating places, some quite old and interesting.

(Omuta line)
5 min from branch Dazaifu st'n on foot.

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First published Tue Jul 11, 2000
    Updated Mon Jun 18, 2001

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