DAZAIFU / 太宰府市
Dazaifu is a small, quiet city on the outskirts of Fukuoka in southern Japan. Home to a number of tiny temples and shrines, the area was at one point the political centre of the entire island of Kyushu. I first visited Dazaifu 14 years ago, and the grounds around Tenman-gu shrine haven’t changed one bit during that time. Perhaps the very same carp are still swimming around in the pond, watching the seasons go by. One thing that has changed though is that Dazaifu now very busy, especially on the weekend. So if you want the serene setting that I first experienced over a decade ago, I suggest you go on a weekday, and even better, first thing in the morning. Here’s a little photo journal of my time there.
Arrival at Dazaifu station. The shrine is famous for its plum trees.
Outside the station I was reminded by how quaint the area is. The sun was shining and little cars were driving about with their tops down. I love how in Kyushu if you travel outside any city for 30 minutes you will be surrounded by mountains and nature.
Shopping street leading up to Tenman-gu shrine.
Here there are many stores selling ‘umegae-mochi,’ a local specialty rice-cake that is believed to ward off illness.
I liked how this soild wooden gate framed the picture inside.
Pond at Tenman-gu shrine. Maybe the same carp are swimming around from 14 years ago. Do they remember me?
Blue skies over Tenman-gu, with the famous plum blossoms in bloom.
‘Ema’ are small wooden plaques on which Shinto worshippers write their prayers or wishes. The ema are then left hanging up at the shrine, where the kami (spirits or gods) are believed to receive them.
Behind the shrine there is a small hiking trail that I climbed up for a view of the area. No one else was really about.
Apart from this guy…
And a lonely sakura starting to bloom.
Dazaifu is located about 15km southeast of central Fukuoka City and is most easily accessed by Nishitetsu Railway. From Nishitetsu Fukuoka Station take a train to Nishitetsu Futsukaichi Station (15-25 minutes), then transfer to the Dazaifu Line to Dazaifu (5 minutes).
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