Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Japan Travel with Children - Kyushu - Fukuoka - Dazaifu 大宰府

During entrance examination period in Japan, many students and their parents visit Dazaifu Tenmangu (大宰府天満宮), located at Fukuoka, to pray for academic achievement. As parents of two primary school children, we decided to visit this shrine, and hopefully our children will receive blessing to do well in their studies. Ok, call me "kiasu" parent...

After our ramen and gyoza cooking class at Ippudo Child Kitchen, we took Nishitetsu (西鉄) bus and then Nishitetsu train to Nishitetsu Futsukaichi Station (西鉄二日市駅), where we took another Nishitetsu train to Dazaifu Station. We managed to get a ride on a sightseeing train called Tabito (旅人)! You can find the train schedule at Nishitetsu's official website.

Check out Car 3 of Tabito!

For visitors who wish to pray for marriage, they can write their prayers on the prayer sheet, and can either take it to Kamado Shrine, or drop it into the box.

A must-do on Japanese sightseeing train - stamping!

The train ride on Tabito was about 5 minutes, and we reached Dazaifu Station.

Before going out of the gantry, don't forget to collect a stamp sheet and get it stamped!

From the train station, it was just a few minutes walk along Dazaifu Tenmangu Ometesando (太宰府天満宮参道) to Dazaifu Tenmangu.

Along the way, there were many shops, especially eateries selling umegae mochi (梅ヶ枝餅), which is grilled rice cake with red bean.

We bought one umegae mochi from Kasanoya (かさの家), which was about 120 yen (SGD1.50). Why did we get from this shop instead of many others? It was because there was a long queue outside this shop! The umegae mochi was piping hot, the outer layer was crispy, and it was filled with a lot of red bean paste.

Another popular spot along the street was Starbucks. Yes, Starbucks. The design of this outlet was so special!

Well, taking a photo of this Starbucks outlet was not easy. It was super crowded along the street even though it was a weekday afternoon. There were so many tour groups and other tourists.

Can you imagine there was a long queue to take a photo with this ox statue? I have learnt that whenever taking photo with a statue, look out for gold shiny parts where many people had touched to get the blessing!

There was a ritual when we reached the main shrine at Dazaifu Tenmangu.

We bought Omamori (お守り Japanese amulets) for the children. Those for academic achievement cost 800 to 1000 yen (SGD10 to 12+). Of course, we reminded our children that they had to put in effort in their studies in order to do well.

You can also purchase Ema (絵馬) which are wooden plaques that you can write your wishes or prayers.

There were many plum trees in Dazaifu Tenmangu, and the most famous one was called "the flying plum" outside the main shrine. If you visit this place in January, you would be able to see the beautiful plum blossom.

Though we didn't get to see plum blossom on the tree, we found them on the floor!

Dazaifu is an interesting place to visit for its history and architecture, and it is just nice for a half-day tour out of Fukuoka city area.

Useful Information
How to get there from Hakata:
Take subway to Tenjin, then take Nishitetsu train from Nishitetsu Fukuoka Station. The subway station and train station are linked via an underground shopping street. Transfer at Nishitetsu Futsukaichi Station to Dazaifu Station.

Nishitetsu Sightseeing Train Tabito
Website: http://www.nishitetsu.jp/train/tabito/index_en.html

Dazaifu Tenmangu
Website: http://www.dazaifutenmangu.or.jp/en

Our Japan (June 2017) Travelogue

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