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Omiyage road

dazaifu tenmangu shrine fukuoka Dazaifu Tenman-gu 太宰府天満宮

Building next to Fukuoka‘s Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine (太宰府天満宮)

One thing that I love about traveling around Japan is that even on days when I have no plans, some sort of unforeseen adventure sprouts out of nowhere. Such was the case on the day that I took today’s photo. I was wandering around Hakata Machiya Folk Museum, mostly to stay out of the rain, when a man asked me (in Japanese) if I could understand Japanese. We chatted for a few minutes, and that’s all it took for him to tell me that he insisted on being my tour guide for the rest of the day. He was a retired history professor. Since it was my last day in Fukuoka, he wanted to show me Dazaifu. He wouldn’t even let me pay for my train ticket. He told me all about all sorts of things over the next few hours. At one point he told me about this house at the end of the road between the station and the shrine, but I can’t remember what he said now that several months have passed.

If you have spent any time in Japan you probably know that virtually every famous place has a road leading to it that is lined with shops selling food, souvenirs (omiyage or おみやげ or お土産), and local specialties to the countless tourists who have frequented the path over the years, decades, and centuries. Today’s photo is of one such establishment. Perhaps it has been made over recently, but the more traditional and stylish these buildings are, the more tourist heads they are likely to turn and attract. We were there after business hours so most of the shops were already closed for the day.

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