November in Fukuoka means momiji and koyo season (momiji = red maple leaves, koyo = leaves changing colors in autumn).
What would have been more perfect than going to the Momiji Hachimangu shrine in Fukuoka ?
|Fukuoka Kimono Walk #11 - Momiji Hachimangu|
About Fukuoka Kimono Walk
This project is aiming to show a different Fukuoka, far from the big modern city image, while making kimono more accessible.
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I knew this place because I've been there 3 years ago, when I wanted to start this blog again. All of you must not be aware that when I arrived in Fukuoka in 2012 I stopped blogging for about 1 year. I was so busy discovering my new life in Japan that I longer felt the need and the urge to blog.
In early 2014 I decided to start bloggin again and it was also at that time that I began to explore Fukuoka concretely. On a Saturday morning of January 2014, I had planned a walk in western Fukuoka and by searching on Google for interesting places I came across the Momiji Hachimangu shrine(紅葉八幡宮). I was curious about this place because of its name and I decided to go. But qs it was winter there were of course no leaves left in the trees and I found the place quite sad.
At the time I started to plan my visits for Fukuoka Kimono Walk, I remembered about the shrine and naturally chose to go for the November issue of this project.
First I want to talk about the kimono!
I absolutely wanted to wear a kimono in orange shades that would recall the autumn leaves. I hesitated a long time between two which had chrysanthemums patterns before my mom (who is in Fukuoka right now) shows me a pretty red and black kimono. When I look at it closely I noticed that there were small maple leaves embroidered on the fabric !! I still hesitated a while with another white with orange chrysanthemums kimono because the red and green colors made me think about Christmas ...
It was my mother who found the words to convince me: the one with the chrysanthemums looked like too much like what I usually choose, it was better to choose a kimono thqt would be a bit different.
I chose an orange obi with a red obiage (fabric at the top of the obi) and an patterned obijime (cord on the obi) The coordination was really very pretty.
I had my hair done at the shop. As I had just done a Japanese straight perm, nothing really held into my hair and the lady did the best she could but I didn't like too much that my hair was with no volume. The ornaments somewhat compensated for this and I was delighted that the lady hung this cute small pink bells flowers ornament. It was very feminine and delicate.
As for foot, I got some black and red zori which perfectly fit with the kimono
It is therefore adorned with this pretty outfit that I went to the shrine with my nmother who would be my private photographer for the day. We went there late in the morning as rain was expected for the whole afternoon. When we arrived the weather was already cloudy and we had to get everything done quickly.
Momiji Hachimangû is a small srhine located on a hill in western Fukuoka (Sawara ward). Founded in the 15th century by town people, people come to pray for a bunch of gods.
To only write down a few onesm people can pray Empress Jingu for easy childbirth, Emperor Ojin for good fortune and the success in life and his son for successful studies. The legend tells that this prince would be the first person in Japan to have learned to read and write kanjis. It seems that (according to the information I found) all (Hachi) mangu shrines in Japan are related with children / studies.
It is a very peaceful place surrounded by small streets and lined with residences and a small park. As the name suggests, there is a lot of momiji at Momiji Hachimangu and there is even a celebration which are held on the last Sunday of November with illuminations at night. Too bad that this year the color change is not so pretty has it was hot for a long time then very cold, hot again and back to normal temperatures.It results that half of the leaves was blackish red, like burned with the sun and ready to fall, while the other half were still very green. It was not gorgeous as I could see on Yakusoku MTN blog.
The place has changed a bit since my first visit, especially since the administrative buildings? (where you register for marriage and everything) have been moved to the left of the entrance, leaving the old place with nothing. I hope they planned to do something of this empty space because it's not aesthetic at all (maybe planting more maple trees would be nice).
Would I recommend visiting for someone on a trip to Fukuoka? I don'y think so if she/she is there for one or 2 days. In autumn it can be worth the trip to find a rather not known place for momiji but otherwise unless you stay next door, be a shrine-lover or collect goshuin it's not really worth the visit.
Since there was almost no people in the street I thought the shrine would be quiet too, but it wasn't because of something I totally forgot about : Shichi-Go-San or the 7, 5 &3 years old children's festival. Throughout November the children and their parents come to their nearby shrine and the children wear a beautiful kimono. They attend a small religious service and pray. And of course Momiji Hachimangu was full of families...
Between myself wearing this flaming red kimono and my mother who is blonde with blue eyes and who were taking pictures of me, needless to say that we were stared quite a bit. I wear kimono very often so I'm used to people stares but it's always quick and gentle glares. Not this time, I really felt out of place and like we were aliens or something. My mother told me it was all in my head but I clearly see that it was not cursiosity but rather "wtf are they doing? ". I ended up really ashamed and felt disturbed even if we did not bother anyone.
The project will be ending next month (time flies) and I'm really hesitating to continue it or not.
I really want to have a different monthly project for next year but I have yet to find an idea.
On the other hand I want to continue Fukuoka Kimono Walk but I'm not sure I'd have enough places to introduce for another 12 months.
I must think again about that quickly. Maybe the right solution would be to do publish a new FKW sometimes in the year (like one per season) while starting another project ? I don't know. Anyway, I can say that I have one place in mind for at least January.Let's wait and see.
See you next month !
|Momiji Hachimangu, Fukuoka|
|Maple leaves pattern|
|Autumn's kimono coordination|
Access and useful informations
Momiji Hachimangu (紅葉八幡宮)Access by subway:
Take the Kuko subway line and get off at Fujisaki (15 minutes for 300 yens from Hakata, 10 minutes for 260 yens from Tenjin). Then 7 minutes by foot.
Access by bus :
From Hakata take the bus n°9 and get off at Takatori (30 minutes, 290 yens) then 5 minutes by foot.
From Tenjin take the bus n°2 and get off at Takatori (15 minutes, 260 yens) then 5 minutes by foot.