Nice photos. As you wrote, the shrine area is very large. When I visitied there with my friends, we were at a loss where to go. The Tenmangu is a place many high school students pay a visit to pray for passing examination to universities.
Dazaifu Tenmangū is a large shrine complex in the town of Dazaifu, Fukuoka, dedicated to Sugawara no Michizane. As you may recall from my post on the Yushima Tenmangū, Sugawara was a Heian-era scholar and poet who was, after his death, deified as Tenjin.
Sugawara was born in Kyoto in 845, and was writing poetry by the age of five. As an adult he entered the Emperor’s service as a Minister, but a rivalry with fellow Minister Fujiwara no Tokihira led to Fujiwara making a public accusation that Sugawara was plotting against the emperor. Sugawara was exiled to Dazaifu, and died only two years later.
Dazaifu Tenmangū is built over Sugawara’s grave, making it one of the most important Tenjin shrines in the entire country.
As Sugawara loved plum trees, you’ll find that every Tenjin shrine has them, but Dazaifu has over six thousand, as well as kusunoki (camphor)…
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