Dazaifu Tenman-gu Shrine

Entrance to the Honden (main shrine) of Michizane at Dazaifu

First, some background info on Michizane Sugawara, a deified man, for whom this shrine exists. According to the official website (linked here), Michizane Sugawara was a man born to a scholar family in 845 and was seemingly a prodigy. He worked for the Emperor, but was betrayed and badmouthed by his commentators and was thus exiled to Dazaifu. He lived avery difficult life, but because he continued to study and retained peaceful thoughts regarding those who spoke badly of him, he was deified after his death. Michizane was declared to be the deity of calligraphy and intellect, so many students go there to pray for his blessing on exams and grades.

Dazaifu was one place I really wanted to visit during my time in Japan due to its beauty and grander. First, it is in a more rural part of Japan, which basically is important because it means that when you are in the shrine area, you don’t have to see the city in the background. You are completely shrouded in nature which makes the experience feel so much more tied to historical Japan. Whats fascinating is that if you go around the out skirts of this entrance (to the right) there is a stone staircase that leads to many tiny shrines nested in the side of the mountain…

On a completely different note, for coffee lovers – like me – Dazaifu is actually the home of one of the most famous Starbucks stores! Not only is the building absolutely stellar, but THE COFFEE. Oh my word, the coffee was spectacular. I ordered a grande Iced Caramel Macchiato (because yolo and its my favorite) and the best way that I can describe it is that it tasted real. I actually had no idea how fake American coffee tasted until I took that first breath taking, icy sip and had my mind blown. All in all, go to Dazaifu for the beautiful shrines and majestic mountains, then cool off with an ice coffee (oh yeah, because its going to be HOT on that mountain).

EXTRA: I found the train ride we took through rural Japan in order to get to Dazaifu to be incredibly beautiful and honest to what most of Japan actually looks like. I believe it is important to appreciate even these areas in order to have a true appreciation of the Japanese culture and people, they are more than Tokyo…

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