On August 26, I visited 象潟(Kisakata), 秋田(Akita) and took some pictures of the spots referred to in『奥の細道』(Oku no Hosomichi), ‘The Narrow Road to Oku’ .
I also wrote some haiku there. I’d like to post some pictures and haiku.
松尾芭蕉( Matsuo Basho )(1644-1694) arrived at Kisakata on the evening of August 1, 1689, when a misty rain started to fall, obscuring Chokai Mountain.
The next morning the weather cleared beautifully. When the morning sun rose in all its splendor, Basho and his party took a boat out on the lagoon on Kisakata. They put in first 能因島 (Nohin jima), Nohin Island, where they called at the remains of the hut in which 能因(Nohin)(988-?), a waka poet, lived in seclusion for three years.
Here is a photo of Nohin Island.
My haiku is this:
(Nohin jima nebu no hana yuki roh shoh ju)
mimosa blossoms gone
old pine trees
After that, Basho and his party left for the opposite shore, where they landed from their boat, and they saw the cherry tree that stands as a memento of 西行法師(Saigyo hoshi)(1118-1190), Saigyo, who wrote of it in 1174:
Kisakata no sakura wa nami ni uzumorete hana no ue kogu ama no tsuribune
A cherry tree is covered
At times by the waves;
Fishermen must row their boats
Above the cherry blossoms.
Translated by Donald Keene
Then they called at the temple standing nearby. In those days it was called the Ebb-and-Flow-Pearls Temple(干満珠寺)(Kanman ju ji), which is now called 虫甘満寺(Kanman ji), the Kanman-Temple.
Seated within the priests’ quarters of the temple, Basho rolled up the bamboo blinds and took in all at once the whole spectacle of Kisakata. To the south loomed Mount Chokai, supporting the heavens; its image was reflected in the water.
Now there is the stone for tying the boat with a rope (舟つなぎの石)(fune tsunagi no ishi) found behind the temple, where Basho and his party landed, tying their boat.
And we can see Mt. Chokai from there.
Here is a photo of the boat-tying stone and Mt. Chokai.
(fune tsunagu ishi no tamoto no aota kana)
Green paddy field
the boat-tying stone
By the way, I’d like to show you a photo of Mt. Chokai, taken at the countryside of Kisakata.
There I wrote the following haiku:
(haku un no Chokaisan ni tonbo tobu)
rising in white clouds
Here I’d like to tell you about the origin of the name ‘Mt. Chokai’.
Kanji characters, 鳥(tori), bird , 海(umi), sea , and 山(yama), mountain, are used for that name in Japanese. This means that the mountain was filled with birds and had a wonderful view of the sea.
Here is a photo of the sea taken from the slope in Kisakata, which leads to the foot of Mt. Chokai.
There I also wrote the following haiku:
(hatsu obana umi no kanata ni shima hitotsu)
Fresh pampas grasses
facing the horizon
― Hidenori Hiruta