When Dazaifu served as the political center of Kyushu during the Nara and Heian Periods (710-1185), a large complex of government offices was constructed to administer the island. Built to reflect the power and prestige of the ruling government, the office consisted of stately pillars, gates and administrative buildings. The office was arranged along a symmetrical grid, and the buildings were painted an impressive vermilion red.
The buildings were eventually destroyed once Dazaifu lost political influence, and today the area serves as a public park. Nonetheless, the foundations of buildings allow visitors to imagine the scope of the Dazaifu government office as it stood over a thousand years ago. The Dazaifu Exhibition Hall is located nearby with some archaeological displays on the government office and other local information.
The government office ruins are a ten minute walk from Tofuromae Station or a 30 minute walk from Dazaifu Station. Alternatively, it can be reached by bus from either Tofuromae or Dazaifu Stations (5 minutes, 100 yen, three buses per hour from either station). Get off at Dazaifu-seichoato bus stop.