Dazaifu is Fukuoka City’s ancient neighbour to the south. It was established in the 7th century, serving as the political centre of the Kyushu Island and Japan’s gateway to Asia. Nowadays, the city is a popular tourist destination both for locals and foreigners who make the day trip from Tenjin in Fukuoka to pay their respects to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine and visit other nearby attractions like the Kyushu National Museum, Komyozenji Temple, and the floating shrine among others.
The main reason why visitors congregate in this small town is the Tenmangu Shrine. Here lies the deity of education to which people of all ages and especially school kids, pray for success in their exams. Watching them as they go around making wishes is as much of an attraction as the shrine itself.
Next to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine at the top of a hill is Kyushu National Museum, another popular spot in the area, not in the spiritual sense as the shrine but with a lot of educational content. This is the fourth museum to be designated as a “national” museum of Japan along with those of Tokyo, Kyoto, and Nara, a fitting title considering its outstanding collection of Asian historical artifacts and information. The museum building is just as impressive as the content inside. A futuristic glass building greets visitors as they reach the top of the hill, with the buildings wavy structure blending smoothly with the outlines of the mountains behind it.
South of the National Museum, travelers will find Komyozenji Temple. Built during the Kamakura Period, this is a small zen temple renowned for its beautiful serene gardens. Komyozenji is much less crowded than Tenmangu Shrine and is a good spot to get a quick break from the crowds near by.
A visit to Dazaifu is also a good excuse to enjoy the area’s lush gardens. The grounds
surrounding the main shrine are adorn with ponds, winding water streams, and a thick forest that make a stroll through the paths a refreshing experience. Even on rainy days the Dazaifu is a cozy town and a good escape from Fukuoka’s urban vibe.
Dazaifu can be accessed by train, bus, and car, from Fukuoka City. Trains depart from Tenjin Station, while buses will take you directly from Hakata Station to Nishitetsu Dazaifu Station. A one-way trip will take from 30 to 45 minutes. If traveling by car, Dazaifu is accessible both via the Kyushu and Fukuoka expressways, with the trip taking approximately 30 to 40 minutes depending on traffic. Tour packages including entrance fees and dining are also available through the Kyushu Tourist Information Center and are worth the consideration when planning a trip to this region.
NAVITIME TRAVEL EDITOR