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■About Dazaifu City

Dazaifu City, situated in central Fukuoka, is where “Dazaifu,” the regional government for the entire Kyushu region, was established approximately 1,300 years ago. The city, together with Mt. Homan-zan and Mt. Sangun-san behind it, is part of the Dazaifu Prefectural Natural Park. The city abounds in historical sites reminiscent of the prosperity of Dazaifu in the old days.

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Nowadays, Dazaifu is a small, quiet city on the outskirts of the large city of Fukuoka, from which it is perfect for a day trip. There are a number of temples and shrines, the most famous of which is the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, as well as sites related to Dazaifu’s role as the region’s administrative center, such as the Government Office Ruins. In 2005 the massive Kyushu National Museum was opened to the public, making a great new addition to the city’s attractions.

Since it is quite difficult to plan a trip in a foreign country, we made a model course to ease you planning your Dazaifu trip.

■9:00 Departure

The access to Dazaifu is pretty simple. Just take the Nishitetsu train from Tenjin and get off at Futsukaichi.

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In case your starting point is close to Hakata Station, just take the subway (5min) or bus (15min ~) to go to Tenjin. The ticket price for a one way ticket to Dazaifu is 400yen. Depending on what train type you use (regular, express or limited express), the ride takes between 20min – 40min.

Depending on which train you use, you might have to transfer at Futsukaichi, to the Dazaifu line (which you can find the same station). No worries, all the announcements are in English as well so you won’t get lost. The train ride from Futsukaichi to Dazaifu takes only 5min.

①Tenjin to Futsukaichi/Dazaifu
 -The Station’s name is Nishitetsu Fukuoka Station
 -Go to the ticket machines (located on the 2nd floor) and purchase a 400yen ticket
 -Take the train directly to Dazaifu or use any other train and get off at Futsukaichi Station (regular train (35min) or express/limited express train (20min))

②Futsukaichi to Dazaifu
 -After arriving at Futsukaichi, just go to the platform where the train bound for Dazaifu departs (signs on the walls and the departure schedule are helpful)
 -After a 5min ride you will arrive at Dazaifu

■9:30 Arrival at Dazaifu

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Tenmangu Shrine is located about 250 meters from Dazaifu Station, and the entire length of the approach is lined with shops that cater to the shrine’s visitors. One of the must-eat foods when visiting Dazaifu is Umegaemochi. Umegaemochi is a roasted rice cake; small red beans covered in a thin rice cake crust and has the shape of a Japanese plum flower baked on it. It’s often enjoyed with Japanese tea.

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Let’s continue with our course. After passing through the torii gate at the entrance, visitors will come across a pond that was built in the shape of the Japanese character for “heart”.

A path leads across two arched bridges and islands which represent the past, present and future.

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After crossing the bridges, visitors get to a walled courtyard with the shrine’s main hall. The current building dates back to 1591.

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The plum tree standing on the right of the main hall is the legendary tobiume (flying plum tree), which according to tradition flew from Kyoto to Dazaifu. Plum trees are typically found at Tenmangu Shrines. There are as many as 6000 of them on the grounds of Dazaifu Tenmangu. They are blooming from late February to mid-March.

Main Hall Hours
6:00 to 19:00
6:00 to 19:30 (June to August)
6:30 to 18:30 (winter)

■10:30 Kyushu National Museum

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The Kyushu National Museum (九州国立博物館) opened on October 16, 2005 .

The distinct modern impression created by the architectural facade is mirrored in the Museum’s use of technological innovations which are put to good in making the museum’s collections accessible to the public.

For example, the museum’s extremely high resolution video system, with the latest image processing and color management software, serves both in documenting the objects in the museum’s collection and also in expanding access beyond the limits of a large, but finite exhibition space.

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The striking wood and glass building in the hills, it hosts important collections of Japanese artifacts, particularly ceramics, related to the history of Kyūshū. It hosts temporary exhibitions on the third floor, while the permanent collections are on the fourth floor.

The collections cover the history of Kyūshū from prehistory to the Meiji era with particular emphasis on the rich history of cultural exchange between Kyūshū and neighboring China and Korea. The museum has multilingual pamphlets and audio guides for foreign visitors.

The Kyushu National Museum is located a five minute walk from Tenmangu Shrine via a path that has been built specifically to connect the two sites of interest. To reach the museum from Dazaifu Station takes 10-15 minutes by foot.

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Kyushu National Museum

Hours
9:30 to 17:00 (entry until 16:30)
Closed
Mondays (or following day if Monday is a national holiday), New Year holidays
Admission
430 yen (entrance for special exhibitions is not included)

■12:00 Ichiran Tonkotsu Ramen

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After strolling around for some hours, you already must have been become hungry. Luckily, Dazaifu has a Ichiran Tonkotsu Ramen Restaurant.

Unique to the shop is their “Gokaku Ramen (passing (e.g.an exam) ramen, served in a five-sided bowl with plum blossom flowers. These “passing ramen” using special noodles that are 59 cm long and you can only find them in Dazaifu.

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Ichiran style means, each of the counter seats has a partition on either side so that the only indication that others may be in the shop is the slurping of noodles.

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Needless to say, Ichiran isn’t the ideal place for a date. You then slide your ramen ticket to the staff through a small window in front of your seat. If seeing the mid-sections of the staff through this window bothers you, don’t worry; after one of the staff members slips you a ramen customization sheet, the window will be shuttered. In complete solace, you are free to choose your ramen preferences at your own pace. In the style of Hakata ramen from Fukuoka Prefecture, you have the choice of noodle firmness from very hard to very soft. In addition, at Ichiran, you can choose the level of spiciness, richness and flavor, whether you want roasted pork included, and the amount of garlic, spicy red sauce and scallion. After filling in your preferences, you press the call button in front of you, and one of the staff members open the shutter, take the sheet, and then close the shutter. While waiting for your noodles, you can get a glass of water from the dispenser at your seat or read the shop information above your seat. Again, the window flies open and your ramen is placed in front of you.

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Ichiran Tonkotsu Ramen

Hours
9:00-19:00 (all year open)

■13:00 Exploring the City of Dazaifu by Mahorobago bus

Dazaifu City offers a cheap way to get around the city, the Mahorobago community bus. One ride costs 100yen or you can buy a one day pass for 300yen which allows you to ride as often as you want. There are eight different routes so there are enough places to explore. You can buy the tickets for the bus at the Dazaifu Tourist Information Office.

After exploring the city by bus, it’s time to go back to Fukuoka. But it doesn’t mean that our one-day trip ends here. The last destination is the Tenjin Underground Shopping Mall or Tenjin Chikagai.

■15:00 Dazaifu Station
■15:30 Arrival at Tenjin Station
■15:35 Tenjin Chikagai (Tenjin Underground Shopping Mall)

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Tenjin Undergound Shopping Mall is the largest shopping underground shopping mall in Kyushu. It is built underground of Tenjin, stretching for about 600 meters from the north to south. There are 12 avenues with 150 various shops of fashion, gourmet, books and more.

The underground mall connects the Kuko Lines Subway Station Tenjin and the Nanakuma’s Subway Station Tenjin-Minami. Furthermore, it is conveniently located near Nishitetsu Fukuoka Tenjin Station and the Expressway Bus Terminal.

Let us know in the comment section, how you like this course. Also, feel free to contact us via Facebook anytime if you have questions regarding the course, or if you need some extra information.

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