The Giant Reclining Buddha at Nanzoin Temple
Possibly a hidden treasure in Fukuoka is the enormous bronze statue of the reclining Buddha. This bronze Buddha measures at a whopping 41 meters in length, 11 meters in height, and weighs 300 tons. It is considered the world’s largest laying bronze Buddha statue and sits tucked away in the mountains of Sasaguri. Nanzoin Temple also has many trails to other shrines situated around the temple grounds, which includes the relaxing and meditative sounds of tiny waterfalls throughout the area.
Nanzoin Temple can be easily accessed from Hakata Station. Take the JR Line from Hakata to Kido-Nanzoin-Mae Station and the temple is a short 3 minute walk away. There is also parking available for those who prefer to travel by car.
Exploring Atago Shrine
Atago Shrine sits at the peak of a hill approximately 68 meters above sea level. The shrine itself is not particularly large, but the panoramic view of Hakata Bay and Fukuoka City is enchanting. It is believed to be the oldest shrine in Fukuoka City and is one of the major shrines dedicated to the deity Atago. Those who visit Atago Shrine do so with the hope to acquire good luck, fortune, health, or successful business ventures.
Atago Shrine is only a 13 minute walk from Muromi Station; however, be sure to bring your walking shoes. Since Atago Shrine is located at the top of a hill-like-mountain, there are many steps to conquer before you can take advantage of its beautiful view. Or, if you have a car, you can drive to the summit where there is limited parking spaces.
The Beautiful Grounds at Dazaifu Tenmangu
Dazaifu Tenmangu spans over 3,000 acres providing access to boutique shops, restaurants, shrines, ponds, old Japanese style bridges, koi, sacred trees, and gardens. The main shrine and attraction was built for Tenjin, who is the deification of the 10th century scholar Sugawara no Michizane. The site of the shrine is also his final resting place as the shrine was built over his remains. The shrine is also the home of some 6,000 Japanese plum trees. One in particular, according to Japanese folklore, flew from Kyoto to Dazaifu in order to accompany the great Sugawara no Michizane.
Accessing Dazaifu Tenmangu is rather convenient as it is only a 5 minute walk from Dazaifu Station. What makes the walk especially pleasant is the little shops and attractions along the way.
Obtain Good Luck at Hakozaki Shrine
Hakozaki Shrine was founded in 923 in honor of Hachiman, the syncretic divinity of archery and war. The shrine has a long history, from being burnt to the ground by invading Mongols of the 13th century, to being the revered Admiral Heihachiro Togo’s choice shrine of worship. The site also has a good luck stone called Wakide-ishi. It is said that any visitor who touches the stone will be showered with good fortune. Other attractions of the shrine are the gardens, torii gates, a direct passage to Hakozakihama Beach, and smaller shrines located around the main hall.
Accessing Hakozaki Shrine is a 5 minute walk from Hakozaki Miyamae Station.
Pray for Safe Travels at the Sumiyoshi Shrine
The Sumiyoshi Shrine was once one of the greatest shrines in the Chikuzen area － present day Fukuoka Prefecture. The shrine is associated with the gods of safe sea faring, and in a long line of Sumiyoshi Shrines was often visited last before departing for sea from ancient Japan. Other than bringing good fortune and luck to those setting out for sea, the deity of Sumiyoshi is also worshipped as the God of Sumo, which is enshrined in a bronze statue on the Shrine’s grounds. It is said that if you touch the palms or body of the sumo statue you will absorb some of its energy and spirits. Additionally, the shrine’s grounds include a stage for Noh Theater and smaller shrines for other deities. The shrine is also home to a relaxing pond and various birds that provide soothing background music for its visitors.
Accessing Sumiyoshi Shrine is a 15 minute walk from Hakata Station. To avoid the walk, you can take the Nishitetsu Bus and get off at the Sumiyoshi stop.