Monday, April 21, 2014

Dazaifu and Night Fukuoka (Tenmangu, Komyozenji, and Yatai)

Close to Fukuoka is a small city that is considered the "Kyoto of Kyushu."  I ventured to Dazaifu to look around, something that only took about 2 hours of slow walking.  It was beautiful.  Tenmangu Shrine was first built in 905 on the burial of Sugawara no Michizane, a scholar and politician who was exiled from Kyoto.  He had a life-long love for plum trees and one of the plum trees on the grounds is said to have flown there from Kyoto from his longing for it.  At his burial, the ox carrying his casket reached this spot and refused to go further and so there are many statues of them throughout the shrine. The shrine is one of the main shrines in Japan dedicated to Tenjin, a shinto god that is the deified version of Michizane, important in scholarship and academic good fortune.  Many students come here for good luck during exam times.

surfacing rocks

camphor tree gets a little help

the three bridges leading to the shrine:
the first is the past, the flat one in the center is the present, and the last one is the future

outside the main gate

outside the walls of the main building

tucked on a hill behind the shrine

enjoying the big fish

the main building
the tobi ume (flying plum tree) is close to the main structure on the right side

approach to the main gate

feeding the ducks and fish

the ox that wouldn't budge

ponds and bridges
After Tenmangu shrine I walked along the streets of shops and vendors just outside and made my way to Komyozenji, a zen garden.

sweet rice cake with red bean paste filling

making of umegaemochi
before the garden at Komyozenji 
Komyozenji garden

sky and trees above

tending the garden of the light of Buddha
the large rocks are in the formation of the Japanese character for "light," referring to the halo around Buddha
trees drop many leaves which need to be carefully removed from the garden

And then I headed back to Fukuoka.  Later in the evening I went out to see Fukuoka at night, when it supposedly shines its brightest.  Food stalls, and shops along the river.

Nishitetsu train

inside the train, waiting for departure

food stall

night skateboarding 

waiting for customers 

line of food stalls

stories of things to do (building directory) 

some of the many romantic Fukuoka flowers available for purchase 

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