Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine

Fukuoka’s ancient shrine was built to appease the spirit of an exile

Fukuoka, a city located in the southern part of japan, is home to many historical and cultural sites. One of the most significant and revered sites in Fukuoka is the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine. This ancient shrine was built to appease the spirit of Michizane Sugawara, a learned scholar, politician, and poet who was exiled to Dazaifu during the 9th century.

The Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is one of the two most important Tenmangu shrines in Japan, the other being the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto. These shrines are dedicated to the spirit of Michizane Sugawara, who is believed to have become a deity after his death. The Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is particularly significant because it is built above Michizane’s grave.

The shrine itself is a magnificent structure, with intricate architectural details and beautiful craftsmanship. It is surrounded by extensive grounds that are covered with thousands of plum trees. Every year in March, these plum trees blossom in unison, creating a breathtaking sight. Visitors can stroll through the grounds and enjoy the beauty of nature while also paying their respects to Michizane.

To get to the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine from Fukuoka City, visitors can take the Nishitetsu Line from Nishitetsu-Fukuoka Tenjin Station to Dazaifu Station, changing at Futsukaichi. From Dazaifu Station, it is just a five-minute walk to the shrine. The road leading to the shrine is lined with shops selling souvenirs and snacks, making it a lively and bustling area.

Upon entering the grounds of the shrine, visitors will be greeted by a large torii gate. Beyond the gate, three bridges span a pond filled with koi carp and terrapin turtles. The pond is shaped in the Japanese kanji character for heart, adding to the symbolic significance of the shrine. Ancient moss-covered camphor trees and plum trees can be found along the banks of the pond, creating a serene and tranquil atmosphere.

The main hall of the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, known as the Honden, is located above Michizane’s grave. It is here that visitors can pay their respects and offer prayers. The shrine is particularly popular among students who are preparing for exams, as Michizane is considered the God of literature and calligraphy. Many people visit the shrine to pray for success in their studies.

One of the most famous attractions within the shrine grounds is the Tobiume, or flying plum tree. Legend has it that this particular plum tree uprooted itself and flew to Dazaifu to reunite with Michizane after he was exiled. Michizane had a deep love for plum trees, and it is said that he composed his first poem at the age of five, expressing his admiration for the beauty of the red plum blossom.

For those interested in learning more about Michizane’s life and the history of the shrine, there are several options. The Kanko Historical Museum, located behind the shrine, offers a glimpse into the main events of Michizane’s life through dioramas. For a more comprehensive understanding, the Kyushu National Museum, located up the hill from the shrine, provides detailed exhibits on Michizane’s rise to prominence and his exile to Dazaifu.

Throughout the year, the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine hosts several festivals. In March, there is an umeshu (plum liqueur) festival that coincides with the blooming of the plum trees. The Kyokusui-no-en Festival, also held in March, features Waka poets composing poems along a small stream. In January, there is a ceremony called Usokae, where participants exchange carvings of wooden bullfinches to ward off evil and bring good luck for the year ahead.

In conclusion, the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Fukuoka is a place of great historical and cultural significance. It is dedicated to the spirit of Michizane Sugawara, a scholar and politician who was exiled to Dazaifu during the 9th century. The shrine’s magnificent architecture, beautiful plum trees, and tranquil grounds make it a must-visit destination for anyone interested in Japanese history and culture. Whether you are seeking spiritual guidance, admiring the beauty of nature, or exploring the fascinating history of Michizane, the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine offers a unique and enriching experience.

Address And Maps Location:

4-7-7-1 Saifu, Dazaifu-shi, Fukuoka-ken

Find Location And Direction On Google Maps

Subscribe, follow travelbloggerindonesia.com