We were so aware it’s easy to get templed out so we’ve decided we’d just visit Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine outside the city and a city temple. In the city, we had 3 temple options but naaaahh, one will do. So we decided on the first Zen temple, Shofukuji Temple. Hardly anyone inside, though we found many cats. We loitered around the temple grounds and tried to imbibe the many Zen elements within. Unlike Dazaifu’s Shinto Shrine, Shofukuji is a Zen Buddhist Temple. I will NOT even venture to define Zen here. I’m frankly not sure what it is, but I do know it is NOT a religion nor a moral teaching. My nephew practices it, just like I try (repeat, TRY) to practice mindfulness. Here in the temple grounds of Shofukuji, there is no need to define Zen. One simply enters, and feels. The rock garden, the pond, the trees. All in harmony with the universe. Like a shoulder-dropping relaxant.

The visit to the other 2 temples was unplanned. Tochoji happened to be right next to Shofukuji, so why not? One thing I remember here is lighting a candle and 3 joss sticks just before entering “hell” underneath the Buddha statue. Can’t say I enjoyed walking in complete darkness as I worried I’d trip or bump my head. But I like the nearby pagoda and garden. Our guide even showed us a line of 88 small Buddha statues representing Japan’s 88 sacred temples. You can say you can “shortcut” your pilgrimage here. Cool.

Now, this 3rd one was no Zen activity. I wouldn’t even consider it a “visit”. More like we went to Kudashi Temple for a pee break, walked the Shinto temple grounds and passed the stacked-up sake barrels on our way to the Canal City mall and Kawabata Shopping Arcade 🙄

Were we templed out? Not at all. The visits were brief, the zen garden was relaxing, the Shinto Shrine and temple were peaceful. Just odd to find some side by side with shopping arcades 😊