The monk Eisai (1141–1215) returned from a long stint in China to introduce Zen Buddhism to Japan and planted the first tea-bush seeds. Nowadays most tea is grown in other regions such as Shizuoka, but you can still buy the green tea from this region, with its legendary hue and flavor, in stores as far away as Tokyo. Eisai also established Shofuku-ji, Japan's first Zen temple, which the inscription on the main gate by Emperor Gotoba commemorates. In Zen tradition, the
grounds and structure reflect the calm, austere nature of this deeply meditative philosophy. The bronze bell in the belfry was designated an Important Cultural Property. The temple is a 15-minute walk northwest from Hakata Station, or a five-minute Nishitetsu bus ride from the station to the nearby Oku-no-do stop (you can pick up the bus on the main road in front of Hakata Station's West Exit).