Ancient Dazaifu, Fukuoka

The end of this semester is nearly here.  I have no lessons today but I still have to be here at school for the closing ceremony.  So I have a few hours to spare.
One of my friends came to Fukuoka recently and we went to Dazaifu and Onojo together..  I’d like to share with you his write-up about Dazaifu and some of its history.

Dazaifu was the capital of Kyūshū in Classical Japan. In its administrative role it was second in importance after Heiankyō (Kyōto) and was often referred to as “the distant capital”. Dazaifu referred to both the fortified complex of administrative structures, as well as the city which developed around it. Specifically, the government offices could be called the Tofurō (都府楼). When we refer to the ruins of Dazaifu today, we refer chiefly to the footprint of these government offices.

These pictures show the ruins of the Tofurō as seen from Mt. Ôno, and models and illustrations of what it used to look like. This area had limited fortifications (primarily a large earth-pounded wall and a narrow ditch) but around the city itself an extensive network of fortifications was in place. Chief amongst these was Chikuzen-Ônojō, a large mountain citadel which could be retreated to in times of war. Running across the plain between Hakata and Dazaifu was the Mizuki, a long, wide arrangement of moats and embankments. In Medieval Japan Dazaifu was supplanted by Hakata as the premier hub of Kyūshū, eventually becoming rural hinterland in the Fukuoka Domain.

Words and photos from Adam.

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