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Strolling in Dazaifu

by - 3:50 AM

On Saturday morning, I got up early and I decided to go to the nearby town of Dazaifu (太宰府). My last time there was few monthes ago and as my coworkers told me that the mapple tree leaves were at their best, it was a great occasion to go. I think I was right because in fact autumn is finally here ! It's just very late compared to other years.

Béné no Fukuoka ! - Dazaifu
I do have legs, I was just seating in seiza :)
Fukuoka map - Dazaifu

I got up at 7am because I planned to take the train at 9 but I realized that my camera's battery was too low. If I just wanted to take pictures it would be alright but I also wanted to shoot a video (will it be usable ? Answer in a few days).
At the time I got to the station, I was right on time to take the special train called Tabito (旅人). This is a special train, whichs tarted circulating since a few months  ago and which is completely decorated in the colors of Dazaifu : imagine a all pink train with drawings of famous places of the city and inside the cars was richly decorated with traditional Japanese patterns. On the Nishitetsu company website (English), you can find more informations about Tabito and also a timetable an a Dazaifu mini-guidebook.

Train Kobito, ligne Nishitetsu, Fukuoka

Intérieur du train Kobito, ligne Nishitetsu, Fukuoka

Intérieur du train Kobito, ligne Nishitetsu, Fukuoka

I arrived at around 10am and there were not many people yet. I started by going to Komyozen-ji temple (光明禅寺). Outside, a few things have changed: some areas were closed by barriers, including the heights from which we had a nice view of the city's rooftops. What a pity.
After I paid the 200 yen entrance fee, I stepped in the temple to admire its beautiful garden. Most maple leaves were already on the ground but no matter, it was still beautiful and very relaxing. There were indeed no people except me ! What bliss to enjoy this peaceful garden alone.

Kômyozen-ji - Dazaifu, Fukuoka





Jardin zen du Kômyozen-ji et feuilles d'érables - Dazaifu, Fukuoka

Jardin zen du Kômyozen-ji - Dazaifu, Fukuoka

The second place I wanted to go was Dazaifu Tenmangu (太宰府天満宮), a gigantic shrine that is the main attraction of the city. To get there, I went through Ukidono (浮殿), which was a sanctuary few century ago. Today it remains a building and small lakes with small streets around : it looks almost like a church parvis. Maples there were superb. The sunlight make the leaves color looking like a rainbow, it was close tothe  perfection seen last year in Nomiyama.

Momiji - Dazaifu, Fukuoka

Momiji - Dazaifu, Fukuoka

Momiji - Ukidono, Dazaifu, Fukuoka

Momiji - Ukidono, Dazaifu, Fukuoka

Tenmangu was very crowded as usual. Between junior hight school groups of students, high school students, Chinese bus tours or lambda visitors, it was difficult impossible to take pictures without having a face on it or without being jostled from behind by disgruntled people whch were angry to people taking pictures because they were on their way (sorry sorry). But nothing has hindered my good mood. I came here above all to enjoy and grab a fortune paper called omikuji (おみくじ). Tenmangu's ones change every season and I hoped to find the autumn ones which are red, orange and yellow but it already had been replaced by inter white ones : white with baby blue snow flakes on it. I drawn a "future chance"fortune (sue kichi 末吉). I think this is the first time in my life that I draw something so small.
Well.
I spotted a nice fortune photo idea on Instagram but as we were in the morning, bad fortunes weren't many enough to . Instead, I went to take a look at the amulets but nothing caught my eyes. Dazaifu is famous from its success in study god so I left, leaving the students and their family to have a chance to buy some.
I went to see the carps :  they splashed around with their tail, surely happy to receive the bread that small children were trowing into the water.

Dazaifu Tenmangu - Dazaifu, Fukuoka

Dazaifu Tenmangu - Dazaifu, Fukuoka

Carpes, Dazaifu Tenmangu - Dazaifu, Fukuoka

Dazaifu Tenmangu - Dazaifu, Fukuoka

Amulettes, Dazaifu Tenmangu - Dazaifu, Fukuoka
What it that ?
I continued my journey into the hills, to the  Tenkai Inari shrine (天開稲荷神社) with its colorful ortunes, its drawable fow face ema and its really hard steps. I was tired when I finally get to the top. Unfortunately, the view I was expected to see were just forest of trees.
On the way down , my camera battery started to show signs of weakness and I gave up going to the Kamado shrine, a bit far but where the maple leaveswould be the best.
Instead, as I was hungry, I went to the main shopping street and I bought a umegae mochi (梅ヶ枝餅), a specialty of the city. It is a grilled mochi (glutinous rice paste) stuffed with sweet red bean paste. It's hot, tasty, nutricious and not expensive at all : 120 yens for one piece. As Dazaifu is a tourist place, it is ok to eat while walking. As the main street started to be really crowded, I went back to the station walking by samll streets.

Tenkai Inari Shrine - Dazaifu, Fukuoka

Ema, Tenkai Inari - Dazaifu, Fukuoka
Ema (絵馬)
Salon de thé - Dazaifu, Fukuoka

Umegae mochi - Dazaifu, Fukuoka
Umegae mochi is rounded shape but I at half of it before thinking of taking a picture.
I think do more and more trips like this. I must say that I found a new blog that inspires me a lot and has increased tenfold my desire to travel. I would speak about that in my monthly daily life article. Also, this walk made ​​me realize that I still had many things to discover in Fukuoka and Dazaifu. I still have to go to Kamado Shrine and Kaidan-in which is the cradle of Buddhism in Kyushu . Meanwhile, I 'll hurry to complete start editing my video on Dazaifu, please be patient :)

The next good period to go will be in February with the plum floweres will in bloom To get a glimpse of it, please click on lthe link below (this article has to be translated so please use an online translator to read it).

Le printemps à DAZAIFU 


ACCESS AND USEFUL INFORMATIONS


Dazaifu (太宰府) 
Access :
Take the Nishitetsu Ômuta line from Tenjin (Nishitetsu Fukuoka Tenjin station). if some trains are going straight to Dazaifu, most of them are not. You will have to change in Nishitetsu Futsukaichi (西鉄二日市駅). if you take a direct train, think to change your seat orientation in Futsukaichi.
It taked 25 minutes by express train.

Best time to go:
In February for plum blossoms, at the end of March for cherry blossom or in Nivember for maple tree and autumn colors. To avoid the crowd, come in a weekdays morning.

Combien de temps y consacrer ?
From half a day to a full day, depending if you want to visit the Kyushu National Museum and some remote places.

What to eat ?
Umegae mochi. It is been seeling everywhere in the city.
What to buy ?
Some success in study  amulets and plum flavored products (alcohol, popteto chips, sweets, cookies and so on).

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