The Washio Atago Shrine (鷲尾愛宕神社) in Fukuoka is known as one of Japan’s Three Great Atago Shrine. Located on the top of a 68-meter-tall hill, the shrine is famous for its incredible sunrises, cherry blossoms, and night views. Although there is a range of things that you can pray for at Atago Shrine, the most unique thing pilgrims come to pray for is quitting smoking and drinking!
Atago Shrine, erected in 72, is the oldest shrine in Fukuoka. The shrine was initially called Washio Shrine (鷲尾神社). But it was affected by the civil war in the 14th century. In 1634, Kuroda Tadayuki (黒田忠之), the second lord of Fukuoka Domain, ordered an Atago Shrine to be built by enshrining the two gods from Kyoto’s Atago Shrine. In 1901, Washio Shrine and Atago Shrine were combined, and it has since been formally known as Washio Atago Shrine (鷲尾愛宕神社).
To visit it by public transportation, you will have some hiking to do and stairs to climb. Even if you choose to drive, there are still a series of staircases to climb from the first torii gate, so be prepared!
Tip: If you really don’t want to climb the stairs, there is an elevator that goes straight to the shrine’s office. From the car park where the first torii gate is, follow the road at the gate’s left instead of starting climbing. A white-ish building is a couple of steps further from another torii gate on the road. The escalator is located in the building. Please kindly put some donations in the donation box if you want to use the escalator.
Jizō Bodhisattva at Atago Shrine
At Atago Shrine, there are a total of 17 Jizō Bodhisattva statues. One of them is called ‘Atago Onegai Jizō-san’ (愛宕お願い地蔵さん). The small statue outside the worship hall is one that you won’t want to miss out on. It is said that by touching different parts of his body, the illness of the parts of your body will be healed. And by holding the statue up, your entire body will benefit!
Whilst it does look small, it is quite heavy to hold!
Another interesting Jizō Bodhisattva is the one in the photo holding a baseball bat. He looks after the local baseball team and is probably the only Jizō Bodhisattva in the world with a baseball bat in his hand!
Otojirō Inari Shrine (音次郎稲荷神社)
You will walk past an Inari Shrine on the way to the top of the hill. This shrine is where you pray for help quitting smoking and drinking. Therefore, the things offered here are cigarettes and alcohol, which generally won’t be offered in shrines!
The Fortune Slips at Atago Shrine
If you love drawing fortune slips, you might have a hard time deciding which container to draw from because there are as many as 15 different kinds of fortune slips at Atago Shrine! Each of them will tell you a different aspect of your future.
Because the fortune slips are in Japanese only, and most of them contain a charm, you can probably choose based on which charm you want to bring home.
The Scenery from Atago Shrine
Facing Hakata Bay, Atago Shrine is a famous spot for an unblocking view of Fukuoka’s cityscape with the ocean view as the backdrop. It is another place in the city for a photo of the stylist Fukuoka Tower.
In the observatory area, you can also use the binoculars to do some stalking (just kidding) and see if you can spot the gorgeous massive flower fields on Nokonoshima Island to the west (probably not).
Atago Shrine, A Renowned Spot for Cherry Blossom
As you hike up the staircases in early spring, your tiredness will be healed by the flowers of more than 2,000 cherry trees that bloom across the hill.
Washio Atago Shrine’s Opening Hours and Access Information
- The shrine office is open from 8 am to 5:30 pm.
- The shrine is around a 10-minute walk from Fukuoka City Subway’s Muromi Station (室見駅) or a 20-minute walk from either JR Meinohama Station (姪浜駅) or JR Fujisaki Station (藤崎駅).
- If you are taking a bus, get off at Atago Jinja-mae (愛宕神社前) or Atagoshita (愛宕下). It is then an 8-minute walk to Atago Shrine.
Japanese Sweets Cafe Iwaiya (岩井屋)
Just at the side of Atago Shrine’s torii gate, there is a traditional-style café opened in 1689, serving Japanese sweets and tea. The café with a traditional interior is the perfect place to rest after the exercises you have completed to get to Atago Shrine.
The most famous menu item is called Iwai-mochi (いわい餅). Compared to the Umegae Mochi in the Dazaifu (太宰府) area, the Iwai-mochi has more red bean paste in the rice cake, so it goes very well with matcha green tea.
If you like chestnuts like us, go for the Iwai-mochi, which has both red bean paste and chestnuts. The taste is just heavenly!
The café will only grill the rice cake after they receive your order. So when the rice cake is passed to you, the skin will always be crispy!
Iwaiya’s Business Hours and Access Information
- Iwaiya is open from 9 am to 5:30 pm.
- In January and during the cherry blossom season, it is open from 9 am to 9 pm.
Discover Other Amazing Destinations in Fukuoka City
Wondering where else around Washio Atago Shrine is worth your time? Check out our article on Fukuoka City!
In the article, we have included various attractions that may suit your interests. There is also information available on Fukuoka’s famous Yatai street stalls (=ﾟωﾟ)ﾉ.