The 400-year-old Maple Tree at Raizan Sennyoji, Fukuoka

Sep 18 2020
Sep 18 2020
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One of the best places to visit in Kyushu in autumn is Raizan Sennyoji (Sennyo Temple), located in Itoshima City, Fukuoka Prefecture. In the solemn atmosphere of the historical temple Sennyoji, the spectacular view of the 400-year-old giant maple tree turning beautifully red. The maple tree had been designated as a natural monument by Fukuoka Prefecture. Sennyoji also has many Buddhist statues an important national cultural property.

A magnificent maple tree standing in the temple

maple tree at Raizan Sennyoji

Fukuoka Prefecture is one of Japan’s most popular tourist destinations. It’s the busiest spot in Kyusyu, and famously known for amazing gourmet food, such as ramen and hotpot. It also offers visitors a variety of sightseeing options, Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin Temple located in Itoshima City is a magnificent sight to witness. It’s about an hour by train and bus from the Hakata area, the entrance of Fukuoka Prefecture.

Viewing autumn leaves (“koyo” in Japanese) is one of Japan’s most popular activities. Most of the Japanese people sense autumn has arrived only when the leaves start to turn yellow, orange and red. There are fantastic koyo spots throughout Kyusyu, however, Sennyoji is one of the best with an impressive historical background.

Sennyoji, whose full name is Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin Temple, lies in the north of Raizan’s (Mount Rai’s) central area. The temple’s record says it was founded by an Indian Buddhist monk called Seiga in 178. Sennyoji played an important role as a prayer temple for the Kamakura Bakufu (Japan’s samurai government) during the Kamakura Era. After that, the building “Daihioin” was built in 1752 by Tsugutaka Kuroda, the sixth lord of the Chikuzen Kuroda Domain.

In the solemn atmosphere of Sennyoji, you’ll find a spectacular view of a magnificent 400-year-old maple tree. It has been designated as a natural monument by Fukuoka Prefecture. It’s said that this maple tree was planted in commemoration of the Daihioin’s establishment. This 400-year-old wonder shows the beauty and power of nature, furthermore, it attracts people in autumn when its crimson leaves decorate the area around the temple.

Breathtaking Buddhist statues

Raizan Sennyoji

You can also see many Buddhist statues in Sennyoji, including two important national cultural properties; “the 1,000-armed standing Kannon” (4.63 meters high!) and “the seated Seiga statue”. The 1,000-armed standing Kannon’s Japanese name is “Mokuzo Juichimen Senju Sengan Kannon-zo”, meaning it’s made of wood and has 11 faces, 1,000 arms and 1,000 eyes. As the name indicates, you can see the 11 heads, and approximately 1,000 eyes on the palms of the statue. It represents the Kannon Buddhist ability to see people’s suffering with 1,000 eyes, and help them with 1,000 hands. For an entrance fee of 400 yen, you can pray in front of this statue as well as have a chance to go on a temple tour with the guidance of a Buddhist monk.

Walking in the temple also leads you to a beautiful Japanese garden called “Shinji Teien”, established in the Muromachi Era. There’s another designated natural monument, the sandalwood tree, in this garden.

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Must-experience things in Itoshima City

Along the Genkai-Nada (the Genkai Sea), Itoshima City located in the western part of Fukuoka Prefecture. Itoshima is a small seaside city, which is not massively touristic yet. However, besides Sinnyoji, the scenic landscape and a few other smaller attractions nearby, this city has been increasing in popularity recently. Here are some spots you should visit while in Itoshima City.

Shiraito no Taki

Shiraito no Taki in Itoshima

Shiraito no Taki (Shiraito Waterfall) appears in the middle of Hagane Yama (Mount Hagane), in southern Itoshima City. Streaming gently, the water trail resemble white threads, just like the name represents; shira (=shiro) means white, and ito means thread. It was designated as a place of ‘Scenic Beauty’. There are also three, 300-year-old maple trees around the waterfall, which were also designated as a natural monument. Why not stop and have a picnic near this relaxing waterfall!Beaches
If you visit Itoshima City in summer, you cannot leave without swimming in the refreshing ocean or enjoying the view of beautiful beaches! There are some fantastic beaches around, but the two most highly recommended beaches by the local tourist association are Keya Beach and Fukae Beach.
Keya Beach, listed as one of Japan’s top 100 beaches, is known for its clear water and gentle waves. Since the parking area’s capacity is pretty large (240 cars), and with some restaurants nearby, it is perfect for big groups or families who are travelling by car.

Fukae Beach’s parking area isn’t so big, but it’s also very popular for families because the water here is quite shallow and safe for children. The long coastline and white sandy beach is an ideal spot to spend the day. You can also go seine fishing here!

Facing the Japan Sea, Itoshima has varied coastlines that creates amazing waves that attract surfers as well. The four main spots for surfing are the Keya Beach, Futamigaura Beach, Oguchi Beach and Nogita Beach.

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Shiraito Falls (Fukuoka) Fukuoka

Ito Saisai

Ito Saisai is a magnificent store where you can buy Itoshima-harvested fish, fruits, vegetables and more. It opened in 2007 by JA (Japan Agricultural Cooperatives) Itoshima, to help customers buy local fresh food at a cheap price. About 1,200 farmers are registered as sellers here, and they deliver fresh vegetables, fruits, meats, rice, seafood and flowers everyday. You can also buy prepared food to eat right away! Osakana Tengoku
Osakana Tengoku meaning “fish heaven” is a place like Ito Saisai, but mainly dealing with seafood. It’s always busy with tourists and regular customers. Their refrigerated cases are filled with fresh caught local seafood selected by fishermen. What makes this place so popular is not only the freshness of their products, but also their superb customer services. If asked, they are able cut your fish any way you want. Highly trained shop assistants can give you tips; from the best in season fish to the best way to eat it.

Information

Fukuoka is approximately a 90 minute plane ride or 5 hour bullet train from Tokyo. From the Hakata area in Fukuoka City take the subway Airport line at Hakata Station, change to JR Chikuhi line at Meihama Station, and get off at Chikuzen-Maehara station. It takes about 40 min. From there, take a bus to get to Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin, about 30 min.

Address: 626 Raizan, Itoshima City, Fukuoka Prefecture 819-1145
Tel: +81-92-323-3547

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Raizan Sennyoji Daihioin Temple Fukuoka

Reference List

https://fukuoka-yokamon.com/cities/itoshima_city/raizan_sennyoji
http://www.sennyoji.or.jp/
http://www.itoshima-kanko.net/

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