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Go west : Kushida shrine and others in Hakata, Fukuoka

Date Published: Last Update:2015/04/10 Traditional Culture, Travel & View point , , ,

I didn’t do “sight-seeing” in Hakata, because there aren’t many things to see as I wrote in my first post of this series.

However, according to one of the official websites of Fukuoka city government (Japanese page), there seems to be many historical locations.
They offer a free tablet application called “Fukuoka rekishi nabi” (navigation for historical Fukuoka).
I wish I knew about this before my trip!
It’s understandable why they aren’t mentioned in Hakata guidebooks though, because most of the places look nothing special.

Kushida shrine

Kushida shrine, Hakata 8

The only historical place I visited in Hakata.

Quick history

Hakata was a very wealthy city because there were powerful merchants who traded with Asian countries like China.
So, during the “Sengoku” (Warring States) period, the city was involved in numerous battles between samurai warlords who tried to obtain the control of the area.

When Hideyoshi Toyotomi finally conquered Kyushu island (where Fukuoka locates) in 1587, he swiftly ordered his men (one of them was Mitsunari Ishida, who later lost the Battle of Sekigahara against Ieyasu Tokugawa) to reconstruct the city.
He built and devoted the present shrine buildings in the same year.

The shrine is largely renovated every 25 years.
This kind of renovation is called “(shikinen-) senguu” in Japanese.
The latest, the 48th, “senguu” of the shrine was in 2000.

It is said that its original establishment was in 757.

– About “senguu” –

Kushida shrine, Hakata 1

Some of shrines in Japan undergo “senguu”.
The famous “senguu” are those at “Izumo Taisha” in Shimane prefecture and “Ise Jinguu” in Mie prefecture.

The literal meaning of “senguu” is “moving the place with god(s)”.
“Shikinen” is “predetermined year”.
“Go-shintai”, the object of worship, is moved to another place during the repair or reconstruction of its shrine.

What for?
There seems to be several theories:

  • To maintain the wooden buildings.
  • To keep up the traditional architectural technology.
  • To refresh the power of god, as a shrine has to be always purified.

Carpenters who can build or repair shrines and temples are called as “miya-daiku” in Japanese.
“Daiku” means “carpenter”, and “miya” in this case is “shrine / temple”.
No qualification is needed to become a “miya-daiku”, but traditional building skills and knowledges are must.

The shrine

Kushida shrine, Hakata 7

- The gate -

Kushida shrine, Hakata 6
The direction board with Chinese Zodiac on the roof of the gate.
The Kanji characters on board are directions although they are a little difficult see because of my camera shake.

 

Kushida shrine, Hakata 2

- The divine tree -

This is a ginkgo tree in the shrine, designated as a natural monument by Fukuoka prefecture.
It is said that it’s more than a thousand years old, but considering its size, probably younger.

 

Kushida shrine, Hakata 5

Yamakasa

- "Yamakasa" -

– Hakata Gion yamakasa –

One of the big summer festival in Hakata, held from July 1 to 15.
It is dedicated to the god “Susanoo-no-Mikoto” in this shrine.
“yamakasa” is a sacred palanquin to be carried around.
On the last day of the festival, from about 5 o’clock in the morning, every “yamakasa” team runs into the shrine and out to the fixed goal.
Its required time is kept.
From 6 o’clock in the morning, “Nou”, a traditional performance, is shown to comfort god in the shrine.

Kushida shrine, Hakata 4

If you want to see what the final race is like, see here (Japanese page).
There are videos that each team runs into the shrine. (Click the photos to see the videos.)
For English information, see here.

Pokemon Centre

HakataPokemon1

At the Eighth floor of “Amu Plaza” in the Hakata station building.
(In Japan, the floor at street level is the first floor like USA.)
I was wandering around for dinner when I found this.
There were some people playing their DS.

HakataPokemon2

Hakata Pokemon Centre 3

- Pokemon Gacha-gacha -

Yanagi-bashi Rengou Ichiba (Yanagi-bashi united market)

A small market by Naka River.
I wanted to buy “niboshi” (small dried fish that are usually used for soup stocks) and “mentai-ko” for my family.

“Book-Off” (secondhand shop)

There are several Book-Off in Hakata, and three of them are easy to access by train.
One near the Hakata station, the second in Tenjin area, and the third in Chiyo area.
I went to two of them.

  • “Book-Off” in Hakata
  • Near the Hakata station
  • In Tenjin area
  • In Chiyo area

Hakata souvenirs

Souvenirs I bought for my friends.

Hakata Hi-Chew

- Hi-Chew, limited in Kyusyu island -

Hakata Curry

- Curry with mentai-ko -

 

Related posts:
#Hakata (1: General Info)
(2: Moomin Cafe)
(3: Juventus Lounge)

#Dazaifu (1: General Info)
(2: Michizane – general)
(3: Michizane – legends)
(4: Michizane – vengeance)
(5: Michizane – Tenman-guu)
(6: Dazaifu – to the main shrine)
(7: Dazaifu – the main shrine and around)
(8: Dazaifu – Kyushu National Museum)

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kara

A Japanese living in Okayama. A proud "Otaku"! Loves animals, snacks, manga, games (PC, iPad, Nintendo DS, PSP), foreign TV dramas, traveling and football (soccer).

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