Dazaifu (大宰府) was established in the late 7th century and served as the administrative center of the entire island of Kyushu for over 500 years. The city was built slightly inland from Hakata, whose port was one of the main points of interaction between Japan and mainland Asia. Although the imperial court ruled the country from the Kansai Region, Dazaifu was pivotal for Japan's diplomatic relations and organizing the country's defenses.
Nowadays, Dazaifu is a small, quiet city on the outskirts of the large city of Fukuoka, from which it is perfect for a day trip. There are a number of temples and shrines, the most famous of which is the Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine, as well as sites related to Dazaifu's role as the region's administrative center, such as the Government Office Ruins. In 2005 the massive Kyushu National Museum was opened to the public, making a great new addition to the city's attractions.