Exploring Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is a must for any visitor in Fukuoka. I was so amazed of its beautiful extensive grounds that it became one of the highlights of my Northern Kyushu trip. If you’re looking for a place to include in your Fukuoka itinerary, I highly recommend this shrine! Read on to learn more about it.
Where to stay in Fukuoka
With so many accommodation options in Fukuoka, deciding where to stay can be daunting. For first time visitors, I highly recommend staying in Hakata or Tenjin. For convenience, it’s best to book hotels near JR Hakata City, Tenjin Station and Nishitetsu Fukuoka Station. Below are my hotel recommendations in Fukuoka.
JR Kyushu Hotel Blossom Hakata Chuo
2-2-11, Hakataekimae, Hakata, Fukuoka, Japan
Hotel Okura Fukuoka
3-2 Shimokawabatamachi, Hakata, Fukuoka, Japan
Hotel Nikko Fukuoka
2-18-25, Hakataekimae, Hakata, Fukuoka, Japan
How to get to Dazaifu Tenmangu from Fukuoka
For JR Pass holders (Northern Kyushu, All Kyushu, etc.), you can take the JR Kagoshima Line from JR Hakata Station to JR Futsukaichi Station. Then, walk to Nishitetsu Futsukaichi Station, where the Nishitetsu Dazaifu Line can be taken to Dazaifu Station.
If you are a Fukuoka Tourist City Pass holder, you have to take the subway from JR Hakata Station to Nishitetsu Fukuoka Station, which is directly beside Tenjin subway station. From there, take a train to Nishitetsu Futsukaichi Station, where a transfer can be made to the Dazaifu Line that leads to Dazaifu Station. The total journey takes 30-60 minutes.
Getting Lost in Fukuoka
Trying to find my way around a new city can sometimes be an adventure. When I arrived in Fukuoka, I thought it wouldn’t take me long to reach Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine. After all, there were plenty of helpful English signs and directions.
Unfortunately, when I was at Nishitetsu Futsukaichi Station, I boarded the wrong train! Little did I know that 5 minutes would turn into 30 as the train carried me further away from where I wanted to go. With much confusion surrounding this mishap, my navigational skills went out of the window. Nevertheless, navigating my own way felt amazing and showed just how far Japanese people are willing to go for strangers!
Starbucks at Dazaifu Monzenmachi
Dazaifu Monzenmachi is the shopping street running from Dazaifu Station to Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine. Here I found the iconic Starbucks, which is designed by the acclaimed Japanese architect, Kengo Kuma. From there, finding the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine was an easy task. Simply follow the crowd of tourists and you were sure to arrive safely.
This is a chōzuya or temizuya, which is a Shinto water pavilion for ceremonial purification. Before entering a Shinto shrine, you are supposed to wash your hands and mouth.
These are Ema or wooden plaques on which Shinto worshippers write their prayers or wishes.
Honden, the spiritual heart of Dazaifu Tenmangu
Tenkai Inari Shrine at Dazaifu Tenmangu
Following an intriguing torii trail, it led me to an eerily calm forest. With my heart pounding and head full of anticipation, I took that daring step forward. I spent a few minutes in the forest, walking through a dreamy vermillion path. Along the way I encountered more Japanese torii gates at Tenkai Inari Shrine, which were painted vibrant red. Of course it was up to me to capture this moment on camera; no one else around but me and nature. Plus what would summer be without that signature cicada sound? It’s like something out of your favorite anime series!
Late Afternoon at JR Hakata City
By the time I got back to JR Hakata Station, it was already 5 in the afternoon. I was extremely hungry because of all the walking I did that day. Good thing, I had my first bowl of Ramen at Ippudo Ramen located on the 10th floor of JR Hakata City.
Ippudo Ramen at JR Hakata City
This miso ramen turned out to be such an exquisite culinary experience; definitely something new and different from our local version back home in Philippines. The thickened chunks of pork-bone tonkotsu broth combined with chewy and resilient noodles created a perfect harmony. it’s no wonder why this flavor is so well-loved all over Japan!
JR Hakata City Roof Garden (Tsubama-No-Mori-Hiroba)
After devouring a delicious bowl of Ramen, I headed up to JR Hakata City’s Roof Garden. This dazzling oasis gave me an incredibly beautiful view of the Fukuoka skyline and was quickly added as one my favorite spots in the city. From this elevated perch, there were plenty of opportunities to soak-in all its beauty and watch people go about their day. It made me envious for cities back home that don’t have quite so many relaxing places like this.
So, that’s about it for day two! There’s a lot to see in Dazaifu, and I recommend a minimum of 2 hours to see most of its attractions and take quick pictures. Stay tuned on Project Gora because the next blog entries will get a lot more exciting!