Government headquarters in northern Kyushu from the late Kofun period (ca 300-710) through the Heian period (794-1185); later a town near modern Fukuoka.
From perhaps the 3rd century special officials (later known as dazai) were stationed there to regulate contacts with China and Korea.
In 536 the Japanese court established here an office for dialing with people who had come from abroad.
Visitors were frequent, especially from the southern end of the Korean peninsula, where the Japanese maintained a foothold at the time.
By the beginning of the seventh century this first centre for foreign affairs had developed into the Dazaifu.
In 663 there had been a disastrous Japanese military defiat on the Korean peninsula, and no doubt an invasion was feared in its wake.Baek-chon-kang
In 664 Dazaifu was moved to its present site.
The Dazaifu was proteted by "water ramparts", apparently a series of moats formed by damming various rivers.
It was a strongly fortified place, the western defense line of the Japanese against possible invaderes from abroad.
The TAIHO CODE of 701 charged Dazaifu with the administration of the Kyushu provinces, in addition to earlier diplomatic and defense responsibilities Thus Dazaifu occupied a uniquely important place in early Japan's system of local government and was an exception to the rule that the court directly administered the provinces.