Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Dazaifu 太宰府

From Kumamoto, I came back to Fukuoka, where my trip had started. It had been almost a week and many amazing places: Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Beppu, Aso, Kumamoto... So many photos and good memories. It was time to come back home to Tokyo, to my wife and to start my work. But before, another surprise, the former government place of Dazaifu, just south of Fukuoka.

Dazaifu used to be the most important place in Kyushu, the place of the government office in the island from around 670. Consequently, the town is full of interesting temples and some less interesting ruins...

The main tourist drag is Tenman-gu, a famouse shrine. At that time, plums were blooming and the shrine fields were very beautiful. I have repeated this word many times today, but what else could I say!! ;)

Then I went to see a nice piece of modern architecture, the Kyushu National Museum. On the way there, many blooming trees... a nice walk...

Most tourists go to Dazaifu to see Tenmangu and come to Fukuoka. But I had some time and wanted to enjoy Dazaifu. It was a very small town, which really felt in the countryside, with nice temples and shrines, and mostly empty of crowds. People were even surprised a foreigner was walking around the deserted "streets". I quoted streets because in some cases they just became dirt tracks!!

In this random wandering, I found a gem: Kōmyōzen-ji, a zen temple which turns out to be also pretty famous! It is famous for its two rock gardens, one at the front and one at the back. Both were very interesting. And the best point of my visit was I was COMPLETELY alone. I spend around 30 minutes there and met nobody! That was just great to soak the atmosphere!!

As I said before, my walk led me to real countryside Japan. I do not think it can get much more countryside inside a city!!

Some more famous temples...

... and one of the only few places where Buddhist apprentices could become monks in all Japan in ancient times. It was a quite important place and again, I was completely alone!!

More countryside photos... Who would not like to live in such a cool house? I was expecting some samurai to come out to greet me at the entrance gate!

And finally, I visited the site of the governmental offices of Kyushu. Nothing remains apart from some columns foundations and three stones with Japanese inscriptions. It is a bit out of the way, but can be nice if you have some time and fancy for a stroll in a quiet and peaceful area!

Back in Fukuoka, lunch at a nice place and flight back to Tokyo. It was time to start life over!!

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