All this happened, more or less...

My name is G and these are the true stories of my adventures.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Fukuoka: Or Getting Rained on in Dazaifu Tenmangu

My kids get into the convenie food

My kids became convenie food junkies. We got them a fix and then headed up to "see" Fukuoka's famous volcano, Aso-San.

Mt. Aso museum

I use the term "see" rather liberally here, as it was so foggy that the view left a bit to be desired. We spent a little while in the museum, but the volcano itself was a bust.

Aso-san in the mist

Instead, we headed back to town for an early dinner. Along the way, we spotted this classically creepy Japanese advertisement. I never realized that pigs were that into dental hygiene...

Creepy piggy says "Brush your teeth!"

The following day, still in the rainy mist, we visited Dazaifu Tenmangu, an enormous shrine in Fukuoka Prefecture.

Dazaifu Tenmangu

Dazaifu Tenmangu

Luckily, the rain didn't seem to bother the kids or the tour guide, who was the most entertaining and enthusiastic we had had so far.

Dazaifu Tenmangu

According to legend, the Dazaifu shrine is built over the grave of Michizane Sugawara, a 10th century Japanese officer who is revered as the embodiment of the god of literature and calligraphy. During his funeral procession, the ox pulling his coffin is said to have stopped at this spot and refused to go any further, so Michizane was buried right here and the ox became the symbol for this shrine.

Dazaifu Tenmangu

As at many of the shrines we visited, preparations for the Matsuri, the summer festival, were in full swing, so colorful decorations like this were lying around waiting to be put up.

Dazaifu Tenmangu

Another gorgeous hand-washing basin outside the main shrine

Dazaifu Tenmangu

In addition to the ox, the plum blossom, the flower of Fukuoka, is an important sacred symbol at this shrine, so wishes here are written on plum-colored paper.

Zen Rock Garden

Nearby the shrine is a small Buddhist temple, where we spotted this beautiful zen rock garden. The large stones in the center mark out the Kanjii 光 which means "light."

Kyushu National Museum

To duck out of the rain for a while, we went to the Kyushu National Museum.

Dragons: This way and that way

In Japanese, this says, "There are dragons this way and that way." Or something like that.

Fukuoka pottery shop

On the walk back to the bus, my kids spotted this excellent little pottery shop and bought more tea cups than they will ever need.

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