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PlanFull Day

Uncover the rich history and cultural heritage of Dazaifu through its shrines, temples, and museums

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Dazaifu Tenmangu has been a major site of worship for more than 1,100 years, and the city of Dazaifu was once a grand capital that governed trade with the Asian continent. To visit Dazaifu's shrines, temples, and museums is to uncover the city's rich history and cultural heritage.

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Sugawara Michizane

Learn about Sugawara Michizane

Begin your journey into the past at Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, where Sugawara Michizane (845–903) is enshrined. Sugawara Michizane was one of the nation's greatest minds and made invaluable contributions to early Japanese culture and society. At the Dazaifu Tenmangu Museum, you can learn about Sugawara Michizane, from his life to his deification as Tenjin, the deity of learning, culture, and the arts. Exhibits include donated artworks, historical documents, and other artifacts such as samurai armor and the sword once carried by Sugawara.

Sacred Honden

Visit the sacred honden

After learning about Sugawara, head to the honden, or main sanctuary. It is a beautiful hall of worship that enshrines Sugawara and stands where he was laid to rest. This hall is the most sacred place within the shrine grounds. The current structure is more than 400 years old. You may offer a prayer to Sugawara from in front of the honden. As he is worshipped as the deity of learning, many visitors pray to him for success in upcoming exams and academic endeavors.

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Camphor Trees

Encounter ancient camphor trees

Dazaifu Tenmangu has a history of more than 1,100 years, but several of the camphor trees in the grounds are even older. The giant camphor to the left of the honden is estimated to be around 1,500 years old. This tree and the many other camphors watch over the shrine as they have done for more than a millennium, energizing the grounds in spring and providing welcome shade in the hot months of summer.

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Traditional Sweet

Taste a traditional sweet

Plum blossom is a symbol of Sugawara Michizane and Dazaifu Tenmangu. You will find plum trees throughout the shrine grounds and plum blossom motifs on almost everything in and around the shrine, including on umegaemochi, a red-bean filled rice cake, documented to have been eaten by Sugawara in his later years in Dazaifu. You can enjoy this traditional snack at teahouses in the plum grove behind the honden and along the approach to Dazaifu Tenmangu.

Museum

Uncover the history of Dazaifu and Japan

Learn about Dazaifu's history as a grand regional capital and center of trade at the Kyushu National Museum. The museum's exhibits explain the development of Japanese culture against the backdrop of Asian history, with particular attention given to Dazaifu's heritage as the gateway between Japan and Asia from the late-seventh to late-twelfth century. The museum is one of four national museums in Japan and accessible via a walkway through the grounds of Dazaifu Tenmangu.

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Explore

Browse the shops and teahouses of Monzenmachi

Dazaifu Tenmangu has always been an important site of worship, but its popularity reached new levels during the Edo period (1603–1867). Visitor numbers to Dazaifu Tenmangu and the surrounding historic sites of Dazaifu increased significantly during this time. And, as visitor numbers increased, shops and inns opened up along Monzenmachi, the street leading up to the shrine. The shops and businesses may have changed, but you can still find traces of old Japan in the fronts of buildings and on the menus of teahouses. The approach to Dazaifu Tenmangu is a good place to break for food and refreshments.

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Shrine

Explora a mountainside shrine

Visit Kamado Shrine for a comparison with Dazaifu Tenmangu. While the Tenmangu is a vibrant, airy shrine set among vast manicured grounds, Kamado is a very quiet, tranquil shrine set among cedars on the mountainside of nearby Mount Homan. The mountain itself has been an object of worship and a site for ascetic training since ancient times. Buses run to Kamado Shrine from the Miyamae stop near Dazaifu Tenmangu, and the journey takes 10 minutes. You can also take a taxi from Dazaifu Station.

Ancient Temple

Discover the treasures of an ancient temple

Kanzeonji Temple is a walkable 20 minutes from Dazaifu Tenmangu. It was once a very grand and very important temple complex, founded in the seventh century when Dazaifu was a major political center and the gateway to Asia. Today, the temple complex is reduced to the main hall, treasure house, and belfry. The bell in the belfry is a designated National Treasure and one of Japan's oldest. Of equal cultural value are the Buddhist statues exhibited in the treasure house. The collection features statues from the Heian (794–1185) and Kamakura (1185–1333) periods, of varying shapes and sizes—the tallest being more than two meters.

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