Atago Shrine 愛宕神社

Love as strong as stone. At least that’s what the kanji in the shrine’s name suggest. Atago Shrine, perched on a hill in western Fukuoka City, certainly receives its fare share of couples seeking blessings for successful marriage. And with stunning views of the city, especially at night, it’s also a place where dates can turn romantic.

Built in 1634 by local feudal lord Kuroda Tadayuki (and originally consisting of an additional shrine, Washio), this Fukuoka landmark is one of three major Atago shrines in Japan. The main one is located in Kyoto. Worshipers actually flock here for reasons beyond matchmaking: longevity, business prosperity, protection from fire hazards, scholarship, abstinence from vices, world peace. An array of jizo statues populate the hill’s lower terraces, providing a moment of prayer for successful child delivery, or, in more somber cases, the souls of lost children.

Birds cry out from the surrounding greenery. Jagged coastline stretches in both directions. Steep mountains roll away inland. If you are walking from Muromi station, wear some sturdy shoes. Although there are steps, the climb to the top will take some effort. But the quiet, the salty breezes, the views and, of course, the blessings make it all worth it.




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