Challenge myself....how much can I eat?
16.01.2020 - 16.01.2020 8 °C
Off to explore more of Fukuoka! Again, there’s no westerners here which is great!
First stop is Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine. This Shrine welcomes more than 10 million people a year- it is the head of 12,000 Tenjin Shrines nationwide!
Shintō a basic lesson- Shintō is Japan’s indigenous faith. It is cantered on great reverence for the natural world. Shintō has no doctrine, no sacred texts and no founder. The Japanese regard the many forms of nature’s life force as different manifestations of the divine,and worship each of them as kami, or Shintō deities. Ancestor worship plays a key role in Shintō, with ancestors regarded as guardians of the family.
Dazaifu Tenmangu enshrines Sugawara Michizane ( 845-903) worshipped as Tenjin, the deity of learning, culture and the arts. He was a very educated and intelligent man who became the emperor’s advisor. This threatened the Fujiwara family so they plotted and falsely accused him of abusing his power. He was exiled to Dazaifu, far from his family and life in Kyoto. Stripped of everything he owned, he suffered greatly. He maintained his loyalty to the emperor even though he could barely survive. He was fed by a local, kind lady who felt sorry for him, a meal of umegaemochi, which is red bean paste enveloped in mochi ( rice cake) and pressed and heated in an iron grill. It is eaten hot and the shops leading up the the Shrine all sell them. They are super delicious....we may have eaten several!
The grounds of the Shrine are amazing. There are ox statues around it. When Michizane died, his carriage was pulled by ox, who then suddenly stopped. They believed this was his will, so buried him right there, which is underneath the main Shrine now. There are many ox statues, and rubbing them will bring you wisdom and good luck in studies. We made Jack rub every one we saw! Apparently he is now going to be an A grade scholar! We also rubbed them just for good measure!
A noticeable thing in Japan is the older generation who still work. There are no unemployment benefits here, however, the older generation prefer to work, to keep active. Some of the shops are run by little old ladies, barely 4 feet tall who are so kind and sweet. I think that’s why I bought so many sweets, just because they were so lovely!
The area is so vast, relaxing and beautiful. It was a welcome exercise after our extreme walking and hustle and bustle of Fukuoka city. If you go to Fukuoka, you must visit this special place. Before we left I ordered a matcha Icecream. Seems weird to eat when it’s so cold but when in Rome......anyway they fill the cone with cone flakes..........Mick thought it was hilarious.....cone flakes instead of cornflakes .......
Food acquired we headed back to town and found a quaint little ramen store staffed entirely by senior ladies and gents. Fukuoka is famous for its Hakata Ramen, in a rich, creamy pork broth with thinner chewier noodles. Full bellies again!
Next up was a visit to Tochoji Temple, a Buddhist temple with the largest wooden Buddha statue. It is 11 metres high and his eyes follow you wherever you look! The ring of light behind his head stands 16 metres tall. It is exceptionally beautiful. The grounds are so lovely, raked gravel and plum trees. We saw a bud which excited us! Judy then spotted a cherry tree, with a blossom! Beyond herself with excitement she went to take a close up phot, and as she was looking through the lense thought, hmmmm, weird, it looks like........pffft! Someone had stuck a fake cherry blossom flower in the tree .....hehehehe On this trip we won’t see the cherry blossoms but I’ve booked it in for my 50th, so hopefully next March we will return for the Sakura Festivals!
Off to Kushida Shrine, another amazingly tranquil Shrine. It was first built in 757 and the current shrine was further built in 1585. Just let that sink it. Really.........435 years ago......builders built a building that still stands. It blows my mind that this is possible. The thing that I love about Japan is it’s history and culture. It is so revered and respected by the Japanese, as it should be.
Beside the Shrine is a water well surrounded by three cranes. It is said that the water of this well grants you longevity and eternal youth. You take three mouthfuls- the first for your own longevity, the second for the well-being of your family and the third while praying for friends and partners. The water contains natural salts so is quite hard to swallow! Three mouthfuls was enough.......and I’m expecting g to wake tomorrow looking like my face has been airbrushed!
After much more walking, we again ate delicious Hakata ramen for dinner, followed by more walking, more freezing hands and legs, more laughs and my newfound youthful complexion! We happily collapsed ready for a new day and a new adventure.