Hofu Tenman-gu Shrine, one of the three major Tenman-gu shrines of Japan
Hofu Tenman-gu Shrine is dedicated to the great scholar Michizane Sugawara who showed brilliance from childhood and was a member of the Heian aristocracy. It is known as one of the three major Tenman-gu shrines in the country alongside Kyoto’s Kitano Tenman-gu and Dazaifu Tenman-gu in Fukuoka. Hofu Tenman-gu was built in 904 as Japan’s first such shrine and between January and February each year, numerous students visit to pray for success in their exams.
Attractive events such as a plum festival and the Tenjin market
Because Sugawara had left a lot of tanka poetry pertaining to plums, there are approximately 1100 plum trees representing 16 different species planted on the shrine grounds. Every February, the Plum Festival is held which attracts many worshipers. And on the 25th day of each month, the Tenjin market is opened along the sando path toward the shrine in which products including fresh vegetables, antiques and handicrafts are all lined up. During Shiawase-mas Week between the end of April and the beginning of May, the teahouse Hosho-an holds concerts among tea and lighting at night. There are plenty of other sights to see including a flower corridor consisting of about 1000 pots of flowers along the large stone steps and the Omotesando stone lanterns which are lit by candle in the evening.
A museum, a teahouse and other facilities
The shrine museum contains 9 Nationally Important Cultural Properties, 8 Prefectural/Civic Cultural Properties and more than 500 other treasures and old documents. Among these exhibits, the entire well-preserved 6 scrolls for the Shihonchakushoku Matsuzaki Tenjin Engi Hakoiri created during the Kamakura Era are well-worth seeing. From time to time at the Hosho-an teahouse, there is a tea ceremony held so that you can appreciate the lush greenery of the garden.