Dazaifu – 太宰府
Today’s article is about a typical Kyūshū town, Dazaifu! Due to its close position to Fukuoka city, Dazaifu is a charming and easy-to-reach place.
What’s special about Dazaifu?
Dazaifu is located in the very heart of Fukuoka prefecture, 16 km South from Fuokuoka city. This town is rich of temples, shrines and history: in the 7th century the political administration center of this area, called Chikuzen, was right here: that’s why visiting Northern Kyūshū is a must!
Hakata port had close links and trade relations with other Asian regions, while Dazaifu used to manage diplomacy.
As time passed, the political role of Dazaifu decreased, but many treasures of great value are still remaining.
Dazaifu and Kyōto’s Tenmangū shrines still have a central role in the whole nation. During the Heian period, as in the rest of Japan, a Tenmangū shrine, where Sugawara no Michizanekō is venerated, was established in Dazaifu. It is said that this is the deity of study; therefore many students visit this shrine to pray and pass their tests.
The Kyūshū Museum is located in this town: it is a big, blue, modern building hosting also an exposition about Japanese history seen from Asian countries’ point of view.
For detailed information, here’s the link of Dazaifu Tourism Association’s website: http://www.dazaifu.org/index.html
Hot to get to Dazaifu
The first thing to do is reaching Hakata Station, in Fukuoka prefecture: you can get here by Shinkansen from Tōkyō and Ōsaka.
Dazaifu and Tōkyō are more than 1.000 km far from each other, the journey takes more than 5 hours and costs 22.000 yen.
From Ōsaka it is possible to reach Fukuoka prefecture in 2 hours and 40 minutes, at the price of 14.000 yen.
Thanks to the low cost companies spreading also in Japan, you can find tickets for 7.000 yen from Tōkyō. From Kansai International Airport, by booking in advance, you can fly to Fukuoka at the price of 2.000 yen! You can then reach Dazaifu from Fukuoka airport in an hour.
At the airport railway station, take the metro to Tenjin Station. Once you’re there, take the JR west Ōmuta line to Nishitetsu-Futsukaichi Station. In five minutes you can then get to Dazaifu Station, which is the last stop of the Dazaifu line.
From Tenjin to Dazaifu station, the limited express train ticket costs 640 yen.
My impression of Dazaifu
I visited Dazaifu in November: it is a easily walkable town. From the station, the so-called “Dazaifu Monzen-machi” street leads you to the Tenmangū shrine. Along this path, you can find many souvenir shops and old tea houses, there are many places where you can take a rest.
I first went to Dazaifu’s Tenmangū shrine, built in the year 919. The over 6.000 little plum trees around this temple are famous: in Spring, the blooming of these flowers creates a unique landscape. Unfortunately, I couldn’t see it since I went there in Autumn. Among the trees there’s a「心」kanji (chinese character) shaped pond, which means “heart”, “soul”. A beautiful red bridge
crosses the pond: it is said that it symbolizes the flowing of time.
Southwards, Rinzai school’s Kōmyōsen-ji temple is located. In this 1273 temple area, there are two Karesansui style gardens: I had been looking for a place like this since long time. The light filtering through the leaves was just awesome.