Oxen have a special significance at Dazaifu Tenmangu. According to legend, after Sugawara Michizane passed away, the ox pulling the carriage bearing his remains suddenly lay down in the road and refused to budge. Sugawara’s followers buried him at that spot, over which the honden now stands. Since Sugawara's death and deification, numerous people have donated ox statues, or shingyu, as offerings. Today, there are 11 of these statues around the shrine. The largest, cast in bronze, is just beyond the torii gate that marks the entrance to the shrine grounds. Some visitors pat its head in the hope of becoming wiser, which is why that spot is so shiny.