Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine set for 1st major renovation in 124 years

Courtesy of Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine, © Sou Fujimoto Architects
An artist’s rendering of Dazaifu Tenmangu’s temporary sanctuary hall

FUKUOKA — Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine in Dazaifu, Fukuoka Prefecture, announced Tuesday that its honden main hall will be significantly renovated for the shrine’s grand refurbishment ceremony in 2027.

It is the first time in 124 years that the honden hall, a government-designated important cultural property, will undergo a major renovation since one conducted in the Meiji era (1868-1912).

The renovation will start in May 2023 and is scheduled to be completed in around 2026. During the about three years of renovation work, rituals and worship will be conducted in a temporary sanctuary hall to be set up in front of the honden hall.

The year 2027 will mark the 1,125th anniversary of the death of Sugawara no Michizane, an aristocrat who is enshrined in Dazaifu Tenmangu.

The renovation work will repair the hall’s aged roof, thatched with Japanese cypress bark, and its lacquered interiors. Disaster-prevention improvements will also be made.

The firm of architect Sosuke Fujimoto designed the temporary sanctuary hall that will stand in front of the honden hall during the renovation. Fujimoto is also a designing producer of the venue of the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo.

The temporary hall will be a one-story building with steel beams. It will be 22 meters wide, 15 meters deep and eight meters high.

Fujimoto’s office said that trees and grass will be planted on its gently inclined roof so that the building will be in harmony with the nearby natural environment.

Construction of the temporary hall is scheduled to run from February to May of 2023.

At a press conference at Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine on Tuesday, Fujimoto said, “I aimed for a design that can connect the tradition of Dazaifu Tenmangu shrine with today, and pass it down to future generations.”