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Meet the God of Learning at Hofu Tenmangu Shrine

Photo: TT mk2 on Wikimedia Commons

Meet the God of Learning at Hofu Tenmangu Shrine

Hofu Tenmangu Shrine in Yamaguchi Prefecture is a shrine dedicated to Michizane Sugawara, a scholar of the Heian period. Sugawara is revered as a god of learning. Hofu Tenmangu is one of the three Great Tenjin Shrines with Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto and Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Fukuoka.

Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto

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Website (in English): http://kitanotenmangu.or.jp/english/

Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine in Fukuoka

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Photo: Jakub Hałun on Wikimedia Commons

Website (in Japanese): http://www.dazaifu.org/tenmangu.html

Hofu Tenmangu Shrine in Yamaguchi

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Photo: Shinkansen on Wikimedia Commons

Among these three shrines, Hofu Tenmangu Shrine was the first one to be built.

Events

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Various events are held throughout the year at Hofu Tenmangu Shrine. Blooming cherry trees are beautiful in spring and attract many visitors.

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Plum trees also bloom beautifully : Plum Festival is held each year in February.

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Summer is the season of fireworks. Fireworks are launched from the vicinity of Hofu Tenmangu Shrine and are accompanied by music for an even more spectacular effect.

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The largest event of Tenmangu is the Hofu Tenamangu Gojinko-sai Festival and it is held in autumn. It's also called Hadakabo (half-naked man) Festival.

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The city is filled with about 5,000 Hadakabo (half-naked men), and they heave a big carriage called Oajiro in the evening.

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The procession goes back and forth between Hofu Tenmangu and Katsuma no Ura, which has a connection with the arrival of Michizane Sugawara's ship, while carrying two portable shrines.

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The procession going down the great stone steps on the way out and going up there on the way back offer a spectacular scene.

Spots

Gyotenro


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Historical buildings remain in the precincts.

Gyotenro is part of a ryokan (traditional Japanese inn). It is said that the leading spirits of the Meiji Restoration such as Ryoma Sakamoto stayed there at the end of Edo Period.

Shunpuro

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Shunpuro is designated as a registered tangible cultural property by the national government. It was originally going to be a five-storied pagoda, however, it hit a setback because of the political situation and remained as we currently see.

Hoshoan Tea House

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Hoshoan Tea House is as a place where Michizane Sugawara would have a cup of tea.

You will be offered macha (powdered green tea) while you enjoy the view of the beautiful garden.

Address: 14-1 Matsuzakicho, Hofu.

Directions: About 5 minutes drive from JR Hofu Station.

Website (in Japanese): http://www.hofutenmangu.or.jp/