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Places of Interest


Forty minutes from Fukuoka and inland to the southeast, Dazaifu is home to Tenmangu Shrine (pictured below)

This shrine is dedicated to Sugawara Michizane as "God of Scholarship". In 901, Michizane was suddenly demoted from Udaijin (Minister of the Right) to an official of Dazaifu, and died her two years later. Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine was built at his final resting place, and its present main shrine was built in 1591.

Today, Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine is dedicated to the god of learning to whom many people pray for academic success.

Dazaifu Ruins

The ruins of Dazaifu lie in Dazaifu City.  Here on the southern slopes of Mt. Ono are the remains of what was once a walled city built in open fields. Along with the site of Heijo-kyo in Nara and the ruins of Taga Castle in Miyagi, it is one of Japan’s three noted historical sites.

Before the fortress was built, a diplomatic office was established in 536 to receive and send domestic and overseas delegations.

In 663, the Dazaifu government office, known as Tofuro, was established. The central government made it responsible for supervising the whole of the Kyushu region in the southwest of Japan and handling defense against East Asian countries, and foreign relations with them. In association with this there was large-scale urban development. For example, a huge defensive embankment, 1.2 km (about 0.7 miles) long and 13 m (about 14 yd.) high was raised, and a fortress was built, surrounded by an earth and stone embankment that measures 6.5 km (about 4 miles) around the circumference. The city complex that was built was about one third the size of the later capital of Heijo-kyo in Nara.

For a while in the 8th century, as a center of political, economic, cultural, and religious life, the Dazaifu’s influence rivaled that of the central government. After this peak, Dazaifu declined and by the second half of the 12th century it was famous in name only.

Today, the area around the ancient ruins has been made into a park.

Many historical ruins remain today such as the ruins of the embankment built in the 7th century and pillars from foundation stone that measure 1 m (1.1 yd.) across, and remind us how large the building in the center of Dazaifu was.



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