Destinies of Japan – Dazaifu

Destinies of Japan – Dazaifu

Things to Do in Dazaifu, Fukuoka, and Its History

Dazaifu is a historic city in Fukuoka Prefecture, on the island of Kyushu, Japan. Known for its rich cultural heritage and beautiful temples, Dazaifu offers a variety of attractions and experiences. Let’s explore both the history and the main activities in the city.

History of Dazaifu


  • Period: Founded in the late 7th century, Dazaifu served as the administrative and military capital of Kyushu, acting as an important political and cultural center.
  • Function: It was the seat of the regional government, known as “Dazaifu,” which oversaw the administration, diplomacy, and defense of the Kyushu region.

Heian Era (794-1185)

  • Cultural Importance: It became a significant cultural center, especially with the arrival of the famous scholar and poet Sugawara no Michizane, who was exiled to Dazaifu in the late 9th century.

Medieval and Modern Era

  • Decline: The city lost political importance over time but remained a religious and cultural center. The Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, became an important pilgrimage site.


  • Tourism: Currently, Dazaifu is known for its historical and religious attractions and continues to attract visitors due to its rich heritage and beautiful temples.

Attractions and Activities in Dazaifu

1. Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine (太宰府天満宮)

  • Description: Dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane, the deity of learning and scholarship, this shrine is one of the most important Tenmangu shrines in Japan.
  • Things to Do: Walk through the gardens, visit the main hall, and touch the stone ox (ushi-san) for good luck in studies.
  • Events: Tenjin Matsuri Festival in February.

2. Kyushu National Museum (九州国立博物館)

  • Description: One of Japan’s four national museums, focused on the cultural history of Kyushu and Japan’s connections with Asia.
  • Things to Do: Explore exhibits of historical artifacts, national treasures, and rotating special exhibitions.
  • Architecture: The modern building is an architectural masterpiece.

3. Komyozen-ji (光明禅寺)

  • Description: A Zen temple known for its beautiful rock and moss garden.
  • Things to Do: Relax in the serene environment, appreciate the Zen garden art, and participate in Zen meditation if available.

4. Ruins of Dazaifu (大宰府跡)

  • Description: Archaeological ruins including the remains of the ancient Dazaifu administrative complex.
  • Things to Do: Walk through the ruins and imagine life in the ancient regional capital. Informative plaques help understand the historical significance of the site.

5. Kanzeon-ji Temple (観世音寺)

  • Description: One of the oldest temples in Kyushu, established in the 7th century.
  • Things to Do: Visit the main hall, which houses ancient Buddhist statues, and explore the historic grounds.

6. Experience Local Culture

  • Try: Taste Umegae Mochi, a local specialty – a rice cake filled with red bean paste, available at many shops on the approach street to Dazaifu Tenmangu.
  • Explore: Walk along Tenjin Sando Street and discover souvenir shops, cafes, and small shrines along the way.

7. Dazaifu City Historical Museum (太宰府市歴史博物館)

  • Description: Offers detailed insights into local history, from antiquity to modern times.
  • Things to Do: Explore interactive exhibits and artifacts highlighting the history and culture of Dazaifu.

Accessibility and Transportation
  • How to Get There: Dazaifu is accessible by train from Fukuoka. The most common route is to take the Nishitetsu train from Fukuoka (Tenjin) Station to Dazaifu Station, with a transfer at Futsukaichi Station.
  • Getting Around: Most attractions in Dazaifu are within walking distance from Dazaifu Station, making it easy to explore on foot.

Dazaifu offers a combination of rich history, vibrant culture, and spiritual experiences, making it a must-visit for those in the Fukuoka area.

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