Today marks a return—of indeterminate length—to photos of the picturesque and serene Japan that you’d expect to see if you were to spend all your time leafing through coffee-table books or travel guides. Buddhist temples, zen gardens, mysterious shrines, statues, women in kimonos, and the like.
Today’s photo is of a statue we found on an out-of-the-way path behind a wonderful restaurant in the ume (Japanese plum) groves behind Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine in Dazaifu City.
The statue is probably a bit less than two feet (60cm) tall, and was on an overgrown landing next to a steep stone stairway that led to a disused walking path. There were quite a few other statues along the stairway and path, but no major temple or shrine structures nearby.
The closest building was the O-ishi (大石) restaurant, which is where we usually eat when we go to Dazaifu. Their prices aren’t cheap, but the food and service is excellent. I took it as a sign of their quality that unlike a lot of the other places in the area, they never have anyone out in front drumming up business by calling out to passers-by. Being the last of the restaurants behind the shrine, it’s a fair walk to get to. It’s nestled at the bottom of some hills, and is right next to a kyuudo (traditional Japanese archery) range. They have an excellent tempura soba, as well as ume mochi and green tea. But that’s a topic for another post.