As is traditional with shrines and temples, the road to Dazaifu Tenmangū is lined with shops and restaurants. This grew from the need to provide those on pilgrimages with supplies, and so stalls sprung up selling everything from buns to sandals, and over the centuries this has grown.
You may have heard of the Starbucks which opened here last year, lined with criss-crossed wooden batons that look like hundreds of precisely-placed matchsticks, but there is far more to Dazaifu Tenmangū Omotesandō than a Western coffee shop, so here are a few photos from the street leading back to the train station from the shrine.
Because the shrine is a Tenjin shrine, students visit year-round for good fortune at school and especially during examinations. There are, then, a lot of shops selling sweets, both traditional and modern.
This is a shop selling music boxes and other ornaments. Isn’t it pretty?
I’m undecided as to what this establishment is. In my dreams it is a tea shop – if you zoom in on the picture you will see all the cups of tea lined up in the window – but I never drew near enough to find out. Shame on me!
Or perhaps it’s an optician’s, and your need for glasses is determined by how many teacups you can count.
It’s extremely pleasant to spend a little time browsing through stores here, and you can find region-specific varieties of goods including omikuji (souvenirs) such as snacks, mobile phone charms, and toys. Familiar characters such as Totoro and Anpanman are available in several shops.
The absolute best, though? Fresh sembei. Crackers in dozens of flavours, freshly cooked and wrapped only in a piece of greaseproof paper. I would have taken a picture of those, but they disappeared far too quickly.
I wonder where they went…