It's been raining for almost two month in Fukuoka. Thanks to El Nino, the summer in Japan was less harsh than usual in many areas but in return, the weather is awful (at least in the south). In Fukuoka, summer is simply never happened! So I welcomed the nice weather announced by the weather and I took my half-day off to go to the west part of the city and specifically the Atago Shrine ( Atago Jinja /愛宕神社) .
Located 15 minutes walk from the subway station Muromi (室見駅, direct from the Hakata station), the Atago shrine was built on top of a hill !
It is the oldest shrine of Fukuoka city and one of the three largest Japanese shrine dedicated to the god Atago. People pray for the peace of their home, to meet a soul mate, to find the courage to stop drinking and /or smoking and success during his or her work time. As we can pray for three gods besides Atago, achievable wishes is quite varied. I knew the existence of Atago but I had never thought of going there until now. The shrine and its surroundings are charming, it would have been a shame not to go.
To reach it, you must first defeat a hundred steps ! And when you think you climbed them all, other steps appear at a bend. A little break on the flat road through the forest before a final effort under the refreshing shade of bamboo leaves and cherry and maple. Finally we are!
The shrine is a very common one : traditionnal buildings, predictions (omikuji /おみくじ), wishes tablets (ema /絵馬) and a counter where you can buy amulets (omamori /お守り) .
But what draws visitors is nothing realted to praying activities. People come for the beautiful city view we are offered standing on the platform behind the shrine. You can see for miles around. Benches and binoculars (a fee is required) are arranged all along.
On my way back , I took a small trail and discovered many small shrines immersed in nature.
I recommend you to come in late afternoon, to visit all the complex before watching the sunset over the bay and the night view of the city (this will be the subject of a forthcoming article). The shrine is a popular place on new year to watch the first sunrise and is also popular in spring for cherry trees.
For the most vulnerable, the climb is quite tough: the steps are high and numerous so be careful.
Adress : 2-7-1, Atago, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka City
Phone : 092-881-0103