This second part of one day trip is about Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine (太宰府天満宮) in Dazaifu city, which located just 20 km away from the center of Fukuoka city. Dazaifu Tenmangu was built in 905, to deify Sugawara-no Michizane who was higher rank of the government officer and known as the great scholar. Because Dazaifu tenmangu is famous among people as a shrine dedicated to the God of scholarship, many students visit shrine wishing to pass their exam.
After visited Yanagawa city for the river punting and eel rice, my friend I visited Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine on the same day. (Yawagawa river punting and eel rice) We took a train (Nishitetsu Tenjin Omuta line 西鉄天神大牟田線) from Nishitetsu Yanagawa station (西鉄柳川駅) to Nishitetsu Futsukaichi station (西鉄二日市駅), then transferred from there to Dazaifu station. If you come from JR Hakata station (JR博多駅), there is a direct bus from Hakata bus terminal (博多バスターミナル) to Nishitetsu Dazaifu station (西鉄太宰府駅) launched from 2014.
From the station to Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine, it takes only 5 minutes to walk, so you won’t miss it. When walk through the street as below photo, you might visit souvenir and sweets shops before or after visiting the shrine. Though those shops basically close around 17:00~18:00.
After we passed through the street, we reached to Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine. Most of tourists were Japanese but Dazaifu Tenmangu is known as one of famous tourist spots in Fukuoka, some tourists from abroad also visit here.
It shows opening hours for this shrine. Opening time: 6 am (around March 20 to September 23) or 6:30 am (around September 23 to March 20). Closing time: 20:00 PM from June 1 to August 31, 19:00 PM September 1 to May 31.
We found the place called Cho-zu-ya (手水舎) where ritual cleansing of hands and mouth before the worship. In old time, people usually cleansed themselves at the river or by the spring water before visit those sanctuary places. But with change of the time, it was built in the same area of shrine as the place to cleans oneself.
Here are some instructions how to use this Cho-zu-ya. 1. Use the ladle (called Hishaku 柄杓 in Japanese) by your right hand and wash your left hand. 2. Then shift it from right hand to left hand and wash right hand. 3. Shift it to right hand again and fill some water in your cupped left hand and rinse the mouth and spit. Please do not put your mouth directly into the ladle. 4. Wash your left hand after rinse the mouth. 5. lastly, hold the ladle vertically and wash it by pouring water. 6. Put the ladle back as facing down.
There are some other things to do at the shrine besides the praying. People visit shrines or temples and write their wishes on this wooden plate called Ema (絵馬) in Japanese. After write wishes, we leave Ema at a shrine hoping the wishes come true. Because Dazaifu Tenmangu is known as the shrine worshiping the God of scholarship, most of Ema were for passing the entrance exams.
Another activity to do at the shrines or temples is Omikuji (おみくじ). It tells your luck by Dai-kichi (大吉 Great good luck), Kichi (吉 Good luck), Chu-kichi (中吉 Average good luck), Sho-kichi (小吉 small luck), Sue-kichi (末吉 Late good luck), Kyo (凶 Bad luck), and Dai-kyo(大凶 Great bad luck). You can draw it randomly from the box after put 100 yen as you can see it below photo. There might be Omikuji in English at Dazaifu Tenmangu.
Then tie up and leave this paper on the place (trees or the place that provided) where people also left theirs. In Japanese, “tie” means “musubu”. Because the word “musubu” leads to “En-musubi”, which means making a good relationship with someone, people has been considered that tying up this omikuji on the trees brings best luck and avoid bad luck.
In the same area, there are some places to visit around Dazaifu Tenmangu such as Kyushu National Museum, Dazaifu Amusement park (for kids). If you would like to visit Kyushu National Museum, there is an access tunnel to there that takes only 5 minutes by walk. When go back the way from the Honden (本殿), which is the main building of shrine, turn left and pass through the garden seeing the pond on your right side (below photo). Then you will reach to the entrance of the escalator that connect to the museum.
This is the link for Dazaifu Tenmangu and Kyushu National Museum. And again, if you are visiting Yanagawa city for river punting and Dazaifu Tenmangu, then it’s better to buy this ticket for both cities from Nishitetsu train. For more information of discount tickets for Nishitetsu train and bus, check the Nishitetsu train web site.
For the last, we went to ramen shop called “Danbo” after visited the shrine. It’s located just the corner of the intersection of Dazaifu station. Fukuoka is famous for Tonkotsu (pork bone broth) ramen. Every ramen shops use different ingredients and cooking methods, so that the broth taste quite different. You might try one here.
Dazaifu-Tenmangu Shrine Information
Opening Hours: 6 or 6:30 am – 7 or 7:30 pm. (Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar close 6:30 pm)
Address: 4-7-1 Saifu, Dazaifu, Fukuoka.
Access: From Hakata station (JR博多駅): Use JR Kagoshima main line (JR鹿児島本線) to JR Futsukaichi station (JR二日市駅). Take Nishitetsu bus (or walk 1 km, 12 min) to Nishitetsu Futsukaichi station (西鉄二日市駅). Then use Nishitetsu Dazaifu line (西鉄大宰府線) and get off at Nishitetsu Dazaifu station (西鉄大宰府駅).
From Nishitetsu Tenjin station (西鉄天神駅): Use Nishitetsu Omuta line (西鉄大牟田線) to Nishitetsu Futsukaichi station(西鉄二日市駅). Then change the train to Nishitetsu Dazaifu line (西鉄大宰府線) and get off at Nishitetsu Dazaifu station (西鉄大宰府駅).