Impressive Historical Sites in Kyushu’s Ancient Political, Diplomatic, and Cultural Centre
Kyushu, the third largest island in japan, is known for its rich history and cultural heritage. Among the many cities in Kyushu, Dazaifu stands out as a prominent ancient political, diplomatic, and cultural center. Established as the local government with jurisdiction over Kyushu during the 7th century, Dazaifu flourished as the center of government and trading center with mainland asia for centuries. In this article, we will explore the impressive historical sites in Dazaifu and delve into the fascinating history and significance of this ancient city.
Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine
One of the most celebrated shrines in Fukuoka, Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is dedicated to Tenjin, the deified form of the 9th-century poet-scholar Michizane Sugawara. Originally associated with natural disasters and the plague, Tenjin came to be regarded as a god of education. Today, students from all over Japan flock to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine during exam time to pray for success. The shrine itself is a magnificent architectural masterpiece, with intricate details and beautiful gardens. The street leading to the shrine is lined with shops selling umegae mochi, a local specialty of fried mochi rice cakes filled with sweet red-bean jam. Visitors can also indulge in unique flavors of ice cream, such as green tea and black sesame, and explore numerous souvenir shops.
A Sea of Sugawara’s Favorite Blooms
The beauty of Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is further enhanced by the presence of over 6,000 plum trees that burst into bloom in early March. These plum trees, known as Sugawara’s favorite blooms, create a stunning sea of pink and white in the shrine gardens. Plum trees hold significant cultural and historical importance in Japan, and they feature prominently in Sugawara’s poems. Walking through the shrine grounds during the plum blossom season is a truly magical experience, immersing visitors in the beauty of nature and the rich cultural heritage of Dazaifu.
Kyushu National Museum
Located on the other side of Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, the Kyushu National Museum offers a deeper insight into the history of Kyushu and its ties to the Asian continent. The museum hosts both permanent and special exhibitions that showcase the region’s rich cultural heritage and historical significance. Visitors can explore artifacts, artworks, and interactive displays that provide a comprehensive understanding of Kyushu’s past. The museum’s location within the shrine compound allows visitors to enjoy a pleasant walk through the beautiful grounds before immersing themselves in the fascinating exhibits.
Other Historical Attractions
Dazaifu is not just limited to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine and the Kyushu National Museum. The city boasts numerous other historical attractions that are worth exploring. Kanzeonji Temple, an important Buddhist site, houses ancient statuary preserved in its treasure house. The temple offers a serene and peaceful atmosphere, allowing visitors to connect with their spiritual side. Kamado Shrine, located at the foot of Mt. Homan, is another atmospheric site that shouldn’t be missed. The shrine is surrounded by lush greenery and offers a tranquil escape from the bustling city.
For those looking for outdoor adventures, a hike up Mt. Homan is highly recommended. The well-maintained trail starts from Kamado Shrine and takes about two and a half hours to reach the summit. Along the way, hikers can enjoy breathtaking views of Dazaifu and Fukuoka, and have the opportunity to visit Kamado’s mountaintop shrine. The hike is suitable for individuals with average fitness levels and provides a unique perspective of the city and its surrounding natural beauty.
How to Get There
Dazaifu is easily accessible by train from downtown Fukuoka. Visitors can take the Nishitetsu Line from Fukuoka Tenjin Station to Dazaifu Station, with a transfer at Futsukaichi. The train journey takes approximately 30 minutes, making it convenient for day trips or short visits.
Dazaifu is a treasure trove of historical and cultural significance. From the magnificent Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine to the Kyushu National Museum and other historical attractions, the city offers a glimpse into Japan’s rich past. Whether it’s exploring ancient temples, strolling through beautiful gardens, or embarking on a hike up Mt. Homan, Dazaifu has something to offer for every history enthusiast and nature lover. Plan your visit to Dazaifu and immerse yourself in the impressive historical sites of this ancient political, diplomatic, and cultural center in Kyushu.
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