Ruth and Julie at Dazaifu Temple As many of you know, I recently traveled to Fukuoka, a prefecture of Japan located in the region of Kyushu.
After a short, sleepy flight, I and two friends--Julie and Ruth--arrived in Fukuoka City on Saturday morning and took the metro to our hotel.
We attempted to check in but found out we couldn't until later. So, after dropping our bags in the lobby, we popped into Starbucks ...
...and hopped right back on the metro toward our first destination: Dazaifu Temple. We transfered from the local metro to the express train and then to another local train, and we were there before we knew it!
One thing you should know about Fukuoka is that, though it is on the southernmost of Japan's main island, it is significantly north of Okinawa and consequentially freezing! It didn't take long for our Subtropically-spoiled bodies to smart at the brisk wind, and we were soon rushing off to buy scarves, gloves, and even earmuffs!
Okay, I admit that the earmuffs were a little overkill, but I had a cold. Besides, they're cute. ;)
The street between the train station and the temple is lined with the cutest tourist shops and restaurants.
This is where I bought my gloves/ear muffs and where Ruth bought her scarf. :)
As we approached the temple, we saw this cow which is apparently lucky.
When she saw this picture, my mom pointed out the similarities to the golden calf... I assured her that we only posed with it, we didn't worship it. :P
After crossing over a beautiful bridge, we bought some fish food to feed the carp.
It is strange how much fun it can be to watch fish eat. Quite strange.
nom, nom, nom
Before we passed through the final gates into the temple courtyard, we washed our hands in a lovely basin.
The water was freezing.
Finally we came to the temple. Dazaifu temple is the most famous in Fukuoka prefecture. It wasn't as large or impressive as some of the temples I've seen, but it was surrounded by picturesque ponds and trees, and many people who had come to worship.
I really enjoyed seeing the young girls and boys dressed in kimono.
I don't fully understand the tradition, but Julie said that they come on certain birthdays
to be blessed by the temple's priest. I just thought they were adorable. :)
Finally, we each bought a small fortune paper for the year.
I've been meaning to ask one of my coworkers what it means, but I keep forgetting. :P It was just fun to tie it up and take a picture.
Mine is in the middle surrounded by Ruth's and Julie's.
Apparently, the temple staff burn the fortunes at some point so that all of the good things in the fortune come true and all the bad things burn away. Or something like that. ;)
On the way out, we stopped to watch the trained monkey.
But he looked so sad, and he was wearing a diaper. So we left.
On the way back to the train we stopped to sample the famous cakes and some hot green tea and to warm our toes for a bit.
Warm and delicious. Yum.
After another train ride we were back in the city and enjoying some delicious Fukuoka ramon.
I enjoyed the spicy Karaka-men. mmmmmmmmmm
We finished the day with a shopping marathon and I managed to make only one purchase: a baby blue sweater from the Gap. By the end of the day I was exhausted and chilled to the bone. I didn't think I would ever leave that hotel bed again... but then came The Second Day.