Hofu Tenmangu

Hofu Tenmangu (防府天満宮), located in Hofu city (防府市), Yamaguchi Prefecture (山口県), is one of the three main shrines dedicated to Tenjin (天神), Michizane Sugawara (菅原道真). The other two major Tenmangu include Kitano Tenmangu (北野天満宮) in Kyoto and Dazaifu Tenmangu (太宰府天満宮) in Fukuoka.

Rohmon Gate (楼門)

The shrine claims to be the oldest Tenmangu estabiished a year after the death of Michizane Sugawara in AD 904. The precinct of the shrine is believed to be one of the places where Michizane Sugawara stopped by when he was exiled to Dazaifu (太宰府) where he passed away in 903. Fujiwara clan members who plotted his downfall believed that Michizane passed away with grudges...

The first Torii gate
Soon after his death the Kyoto citizen in the capital suffered from natural disasters. Since the dehydration persisted since his death, the ritual ceremony to pray for rain took place in June 26th, 930. After the praying dark and thick clouds appeared and covered the Heian capital. 

In principle, the ceremony was successful!!! 
Except the following unexpected incident...

Shimenawa pillars
An after the long-awaited rainfall, the palace was struck by lightning, resulting in several casualties who grabbed the power in the palace. Three months after eyewitnessing the unprecedented disaster, Emperor Daigo passed away.  Based upon the "coincidence", Michizane is worshipped as Tenmandaijizai Tenjin (天満大自在天神).

In AD 909 Tokihira Fujiwara (藤原時平), who expelled Michizane, passed away at the age of 39. Besides epidemic diseases were rife all over. Prince Yasuakira (保明親王), the second son of Emperor Daigo, passed away in AD 923 and his son, Yoshiyori (慶頼王), grandchild of Emperor Daigo, passed away, too in AD 925.

The statue of cow is always somewhere in Tenmangu shrine because there are several folklore saying that "Michizane's Chinese animal is cow", "He had a ride in cow when he was exiled to Dazaifu.", "He loved cow and was loved by cow.", "Cow saved him from assassination.", "The place of Dazaifu Tenmangu was assigned by his cow.", and s on... Cow is considered as a Messenger of God" in Tenmangu shrines.

Tenmangu is located in the Hofu city center and contributed to the development of the town since its foundation.

Panoramic view of the town is all yours (free of charge)!


  1. Fascinating post and beautiful photos! Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

  2. 青空に朱色が映えてますね。鳥居は朱塗りでなく石なのもいいですね。三大天満宮では京都を何度かお参りしました。梅も紅葉も素晴らしいです。北野天満宮は日本全国津々浦々ありますが、私の故郷神戸では港を見下ろす高台にあります。異人館で有名な北野町ですが、この神社から名前がついたようなんです。


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