Sunday, October 12, 2008
Yesterday we went to Dazaifu, which is a big shrine not too far from Fukuoka. These are some pictures of it above. It is dedicated to Suguwara no Michizane who was a member of the Imperial court in Kyoto exiled to Kyushu by some of his political enemies about 1200 years ago. He died a couple of years later and thereafter a whole string of natural disasters hit the country. Opinion at the time was that the disasters were the result of Michizane's spirit's wrath, so they dedicated the shrine to appease him.
Anyway, its an interesting enough place, though as the Lonely Planet guidebook says its only got about half a day's worth of stuff to do. We went on a Sunday, so it was quite crowded, though it would probably be a lot less so on the weekend.
There is also a Zen temple near the shrine that we visited called Komyouzenji. Its got one of those gardens with the finely raked gravel. This is a picture of it below. There is a funny story about this picture. While I was taking it I started backing up trying to get all the scenery into the frame. I'm going back....going back....going back....and then all of a sudden I hear the one sound that you do not want to hear when you are walking in a Zen garden: "Crunch".
Yes, you guessed it, I had trod upon the gravel, leaving a size 10 and a half footprint for all to see.
Fortunately though I hadn't stepped on one of the really finely raked parts of the garden, where every little pebble has been painstakingly placed into the right position. I think they deliberately refrained from putting much effort into this portion because they knew it was the part that idiot tourists were most likely to step in when trying to take pictures.