Kushida Shrine brings some of Japan’s ancient history to light. In 757 A.D., when Hakata was designated to be a trade port between China and Japan, Emperor Koken ordered to have this shrine built and dedicated it to the three Deities of Japanese mythology: Ohatanushi-no-mikoto, Amaterasu-omikami, and Susanowo-no-mikoto. However, after some number of battles, the shrine was destroyed in a huge fire, and wasn’t rebuilt again until Hideyoshi Toyotomi commanded it around the 1500’s. While the building was new, the symbolism and dedication remained the same. Although the Deities share the shrine, it is said that Ohatanishi-no-mikoto’s spirit specifically is enshrined there, bringing success to students and business workers to those who wish for it. As you enter the first gate, be sure to look up. A beautiful, colorful carving of the Chinese Zodiac is displayed. It’s certainly a great photo opportunity. Then wander around the shrine. Should you be around during the summer season, you can experience Hakata’s Gion Yamakasa festival. This shrine hosts the “Oiyama” race, in which men join together to carry heavy wooden mini shrines to Kushida. The race usually begins at 4:59am on July 15th. Although the start time is super early, it’s definitely a race and experience you don’t want to miss.