Dazaifu Temmangu, Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan

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Dazaifu Tenman-gū

Top choice in Kyūshū

Among the countless visitors to the grand, sprawling Tenman-gū – shrine and burial place of poet-scholar Tenman Tenjin – are students making offerings and buying amulets in hopes of passing college entrance exams.

The hondō (main hall) was rebuilt in 1591. Behind the shrine is the Kankō Historical Museum, with dioramas showing Tenjin's life (an English leaflet provides explanations). Across the grounds, the Dazaifu Tenman-gū Museum has artefacts from his life, including some excellent swords.

Tenman-gū is a near-mandatory stop on the bus-tour route, so expect to see swarms of people even on weekdays.

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