Panoramic view on Hakata Bay
Washio Atago-jinja is a Shinto shrine on the heights of Fukuoka City’s western side on Kyushu Island in Japan. At the top of Mount Atago, it offers a wonderful and unobstructed view on Hakata Bay, with its way up dotted with several Shinto and Buddhist pavilions. It is one of the most important Atago shrines in Japan.
Standing on Mount Atago (formerly named Washio), Washio Atago-jinja shrine is worth a visit for the panoramic view it offers on Fukuoka City and Hakata Bay. Slightly off the center in the west of downtown Fukuoka, in a hilly residential neighborhood, the Shinto site is hiding an interesting open-air observation platform with an unobstructed view behind its main pavilion. Landmarks of the city can be clearly seen, such as:
- Fukuoka Tower;
- High buildings on the seaside;
- The aerial freeway crossing the mouth of Muromi river;
- AEON Marina Town shopping mall and more broadly the port area Marinoa; and,
- In the distance, the woody islets of the Genkai sea, including Nokonoshima.
To enjoy this free panorama, one must climb hundreds of steps to the highest place of the sacred enclosure. From the nearest metro station or the bus stop, there is first at least a 15 minutes’ walk to the entrance, then several dozen more to climb all the stairs. People with reduced mobility may use the nearby parking to climb at least part of the mount and have a nice view after getting off the car 🚙.
At the platform, Hozukin-chan, the shrine’s mascot – a rare feature in a spiritual site – is welcoming the visitors. Washio Atago-jinja is indeed fulfilling several duties and is at the same time:
- The oldest Shinto shrine in Fukuoka;
- An observatory on the city with a good orientation to watch the sunset; and,
- A privileged spot to admire the blooming cherry trees 🌸 in spring.
Locals often go to this popular place of worship that can be crowded for important yearly rituals such as the New Year celebrations.
One of the 3 main Atago shrines in Japan
All Atago shrines are built on hills and worship the kami Atago Gongen, also associated to Homusubi no Mikoto or Kagutsuchi, the god of fire 🔥 and son of the mythological couple Izanagi and Izanami no Mikoto. Atago shrines protect cities from fires and they were originally built for this purpose. Nowadays, Washio Atago-jinja enshrines 4 main deities, that can be prayed at Shinto as well as Buddhist secondary pavilions on the sides of Mount Atago for a variety of needs, such as:
- Good fortune;
- A better health;
- Flourishing business;
- Academic success, and,
- Luck in love.
Therefore, while climbing or going down the hill you’ll fin the following sites:
- Uga-jinja shrine and Atago Otojiro Inari-jinja shrine, that can be recognized thanks to its lines of torii ⛩️ gates; and,
- Atago Jizoson and Kannon-ji temples.
Affectionately nicknamed Atago-san by the locals, the shrine offers a pleasant visit for sightseers who like walking and wandering in the large cities’ residential areas.