An ancient Japanese city on Kyushu Island, Dazaifu is a quiet refuge from the nearby metropolis of Fukuoka. Centuries-old temples and national museums create an enlightening cultural enclave.
Things to do
Culture and religion merge in Dazaifu. The grand Tenmangu Shrine envelopes visitors in the splendour of nature, bounded by endless groves of plum trees that flower in the spring. University students make their way to this shrine to pray for good grades and academic success.
Komyozen-ji Temple tucks into the outskirts of town with a carefully manicured Zen rock garden that’s open to travellers for meditation and contemplation. Kanzeion-ji Temple dates back to 746, harbouring wood statues from the 10th century through to the 12th century, as well as one of the oldest temple bells in Japan.
Piercing the sky in the hills outside Dazaifu, the multi-storey modern edifice of Kyushu National Museum holds important Japanese arts and treasures, including pottery, Impressionist paintings and cultural exchange exhibitions. At Kanko Historical Museum, you’ll discover dioramas telling historical stories using Hakata ningyo dolls.
Dining centres on local specialities, such as Umegae Mochi, a Dazaifu signature rice cake or dumpling made from azuki beans and imprinted with a Japanese apricot flower insignia. You’ll find them at Kasanova cafe or numerous other eateries on the path to Tenmangu Shrine. For handmade udon noodles, stop by the tiny Saifu Udon shop.
Fukuoka Airport is about 10 kilometres away, where you can take a train or bus to Dazaifu. You can rent a car, but the town itself is pedestrian-friendly. Rental bikes are available for reaching nearby attractions.
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