JDF JapanDefenseFocus No.85

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Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine

Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine

Daizaifu Tenmangu is a Shinto shrine located in Dazaifu City, Fukuoka Prefecture, on the island of Kyushu in Western Japan. The shrine grounds are home to one of Japan’s most famous plum tree groves that feature approx. 6,000 white and red plum trees representing approx. 200 varieties. The shrine attracts approx. 8 million visitors every year from both Japan and other countries mainly in Asia. Typically, the plum trees reach full bloom from the end of January to the beginning of March every year. The shrine has many varieties that bloom at different times, producing the aroma of plums on the shrine grounds throughout the blooming season.

The history of Dazaifu Tenmangu dates back more than 1,100 years when a Shinto shrine was erected over the grave of famous Japanese scholar and literary icon Sugawara no Michizane.

Tenjin-sama represents the embodiment of the spirit Sugawara no Michizane forever worshipped at Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine and its approx. 12,000 branch shrines located across Japan as the spirit for scholarly learning, devotion and warding off evil. These shrines are particularly popular among hard-working students who visit to pray for success in passing their entrance exams or finding employment after school.

Fukuoka Prefecture is also home to GSDF Camp Fukuoka, which is location of the division headquarters for the 4th Division responsible for the defense and security of Kyushu’s four northernmost prefectures (Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, and Oita). Personnel at Camp Fukuoka take part in training night and day, while the base also hosts training for ready reserve personnel and basic training for candidate for JDF personnel. The GSDF 4th Division’s main mission is the defense and security of Kyushu’s four northernmost prefectures, some of Japan’s most vibrant in terms of both nature and history, and the dispatch for disaster relief. The 4th Division participates in international contribution efforts and proactively supports community events at the local level.

In addition, ASDF’s Tsuiki Air Base and Kasuga Air Base are located in Fukuoka Prefecture. Tsuiki Air Base is responsible for protecting the airspace of Western Japan, fulfilling its mission of scrambling against aircraft intruding into territorial airspace night and day. At the same time, it focuses on creating powerful and capable units through daily training. Kasuga Air Base houses the Western Air Defense Force and the Western Aircraft Control and Warning Wing, which monitors the skies over Japan and the vicinity 24 hours a day 365 days a year.

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