Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Kyushu: Dazaifu

While we were in Kyushu, Sarah got to visit two of her friends that had been JICA volunteers (the Japanese equivalent of Peace Corps).  One of them had a car, so they drove us out to Dazaifu, which is a town near Fukuoka.

Daziafu is know for Tenman-gu Shrine.  It was the perfect day to go - the sky was sunny and blue, it was warm and breezy, and we were all happy from our delicious waffle brunch.

Tenman-gu was incredibly beautiful, and it was great to be there with Japanese people.  We all got fortunes and they read ours to us (John and I always struggle with that part) and they explained the history of the area.

I'm always terrible at taking pictures of shrines and temples.  It's partially because I'm just using my phone, but it's also because I want to focus on the details rather than the whole shrine, so lets just get this first picture out of the way.

Tenman-gu Shrine

The Shinto religion celebrates nature, and I've heard of shrines where a tree will grow up, and they will just let it grow through the building, but I finally got to see an example!

Isn't that great?

We saw some really interesting trees that were covered in a sort of hairy moss.

And there were lots of turtles sunbathing in the lake.

Turtle Dominoes

We stopped to have some green tea and grilled red bean and mochi cakes.  I've said before that I'm not a big red bean paste fan, but when it was warm the texture was a lot different - smoother - and it tasted better too.  We sat on raised tatami at a little table, and it was absolutely lovely.

Snack Time!

After the shrine, we walked up and down the little shopping street in Dazaifu that sold crafts and snacks and souvenirs.  It reminded me a lot of the main shopping street in Kamakura.  On the ride home we could barely keep our eyes open, but it was a really wonderful afternoon!

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