In the woods, nestled among rice paddies and reachable by bus (¥100) or about a 20-minute walk from Dazaifu Station, this rustic temple dates from 746, but only the great bell (said to be Japan's oldest) remains of the original construction. Its Exhibition Hall has an impressive collection of statuary, most of it wooden, dating from the 10th to 12th centuries. Many of the items show Indian or Tibetan influence. It's adjacent to Kaidan-in monastery.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Kyūshū attractions

1. Kaidan-in

0.03 MILES

This intimate temple dates from 761 and was one of the most important Buddhist ordination monasteries in Japan. Combine it with a visit to the more…

2. Kanzeon-ji Exhibition Hall

0.06 MILES

At this mid-20th-century hall within the Kanzeon-ji grounds, of particular note is the wooden statuary from the 10th to 12th centuries. Many items show…

3. Dazaifu Exhibition Hall

0.31 MILES

The hall displays finds from local archaeological excavations. Nearby are the Tofurō ruins (都府楼) of ancient government buildings.

4. Kōmyōzen-ji

0.78 MILES

Tucked away between Dazaifu Station and the Kyūshū National Museum, this small temple has an exquisite jewel of a Zen garden. It's a peaceful contrast to…

5. Dazaifu Tenman-gū


Among the countless visitors to the grand, sprawling Tenman-gū – shrine and burial place of poet-scholar Tenman Tenjin – are students making offerings and…

6. Dazaifu Tenman-gū Museum


On the grounds of the Tenman-gū shrine, many historical and religious objects related to Tenman Tenjin are on display in this classic museum, including…

7. Kankō Historical Museum

0.91 MILES

The life story of Sugawara-no-Michizane is told here in dioramas using Hakata ningyō (dolls). It's not easy to digest if you're not a Japanese speaker,…

8. Kyūshū National Museum

1.02 MILES

Built into the tranquil eastern hills of Dazaifu and reached through more escalators than can be found at the average airport, this striking structure …