On December 29, 2012, I happened to visit Senshu Park(千秋公園)in Akita City, taking a stroll there and remembering its history.

I also took some photos there, inspired to compose haiku later.

Senshu park is located in the remains of Kubota Castle(久保田城).

In 1602,  Satake Yoshinobu (佐竹義宣)(1570~1633) was moved from the Mito area to Akita after the Battle of Sekigahara(関ヶ原の戦).  They built Kubota Castle in 1604.

One of the office buildings called 御物頭御番所 is the only original structure remaining there, and there is a recreated castle keep which functions as a museum for the history of the area.

  Here I would like to show you around Senshu Park through some photos and my haiku.


Here is a photo of some part of the moat.






Kubota Castle –

the moat turns frozen

into silence



Here is a photo of the entrance to Senshu Park.






The Land of Poetry

snow shines in

the castle town




Akita is said to have flourished in the fields of education and culture in the Edo period (1603~1867), when the beauties and wonders of nature in Akita produced a lot of poets of Chinese poetry. Akita poets composed about 10,000 numbers of Chinese poetry, some of which were looked upon as better works of poetry by far.


 Here is a photo of snowy stone steps from the outer keep to the inner keep of the castle.






the snowy slope

leading there –

Armistice Castle



Kubota Castle has been called “矢留城”, which meansArmistice Castle.

This is because they did not construct any stone walls(石垣) nor the main keep(天守閣), which is usually called the central tower.


Here is a photo of the slope to the inner keep.






snow shining

white in pine branches –

Armistice Castle



Here is a photo of the inner keep, and the statue of Satake Yoshitaka(佐竹義堯)(1825~1884), the 12th lord of the Kubota domain, who was the last lord.






Kubota Castle –

everlasting pines brighten

in snow





the sunbeam –

snowy pines brighten

branch to branch



Here is a photo of part of Senshu Park and Akita City, and Mount Taihei(太平山), which are seen from the inner keep of the castle.






The Land of Poetry

the landscape presents its show

with silvery snow



Here is a photo of zelkova trees and a recreated castle keep which functions as a museum for the history of the area. There are a great number of various kinds of old or giant trees growing in the park instead of stone walls or the main keep.






snow viewing

with zelkova trees

Armistice Castle





Armistice Castle –

Zelkova trees brighten

in snow



Here is a photo of the lake called 胡月池, which is in the center of a traditional type of garden.






stone lantern

welcomes visitors –

snow hat





winter pond

makes no sound –

cooling all over



Here is the last photo of the moat near one of the gates to the outer keep.






sweet home

for wild geese –

winter moat





Kubota Castle –

wild geese wintering in

the moat



Lastly, you can check out photos and haiku at the blog below.




The next posting ‘Haiku by Ashok Bhargavaappears on March 2.


― Hidenori Hiruta




Patricia Lidia in Romania kindly contributed New Year’s card and her haiku to International Haiku New Year’s Festival 2011.




fairytales                     おとぎ話を聞く 

in front of the stove –        ストーブの前で 

childhood memories        子供の頃の思い出



on a rabbit’s back          兎の背に乗って

hopping in New Year –       新年に跳んでいる

new resolutions            新しい抱負が 



Patricia Lidia has her haiku blog, in which she kindly translated my haiku into Romanian: http://patricialidia.wordpress.com/ .


Haiku scrise de Hidenori Hiruta (蛭田秀法)
Haiku written by Hidenori Hiruta(蛭田秀法)

Haiku despre iarna/Haiku about winter

Haiku despre iarnă / Winter Haiku

La poalele muntelui Taihei, Akita/At the foot of Mt. Taihei, Akita



The winter sun
breaks ―
Mt. Taihei


Soarele iernii
se sfărâmă în bucăţi –
Muntele Taihei





The old bear
dreams of eternity
a bamboo grove


Ursul cel bătrân
dumbrăvi de bambus




In the snow
too cold for the lute
into silence


În zăpadă e
prea frig pentru lăuta
ce stă tăcută




Here are some of Patricia Lidia’s latest works with some of photos, inspired by her birth city:


at vespers –            

crooked crosses on the hill,    

bird nests             







heavy hat
on grandparents’ house –
frozen snow








shooting star
searching through the snowdrifts,
only fireworks








beggar’s palm
full of leaves







yawning in class –
playing hopscotch on the pavement
only the chestnuts








cold drops of rain –
among boats and rubbish,
the last lily







insomnia again –
neighbor singing all the time
the same song







lonely neighbor
old songs on harpsichord
and the rain


孤独な隣人 ―




hail falling
through the old roof –
lights and shadows







a cup of tea
and an open book –
stars at the window





I sincerely hope that you will stay and have a good time in the beauties and wonders of Patricia Lidia’s haiku world.


The next posting ‘Haiku by Students at Odate Homei High School(大館鳳鳴高校)in Akita, Northern Japan’  appears on February 26.


Hidenori Hiruta



Haiku poets celebrated the New Year by writing haiku, painting haiga, or taking pictures, and so on.

Masuda Aika(桝田愛佳)painted haiga to celebrate the Year of the Tiger in Akita, Japan.


Masuda Junko(桝田純子), Aika’s mother, wrote haiku for her sister, who is expecting a baby 13 years after her marriage.

on tiger’s back

miracle baby coming

to my sister




Tora no se ni  notte yume no ko  yatte kuru


Roberta Beary wrote haiku at her family reunion in Washington, DC, USA.

new year’s visit

3 generations greet me

with the same smile




Shin nen ya  hohoemi onaji  san sedai



Emiko Miyashita(宮下惠美子) wrote haiku at her mother’s family reunion in Fukushima, Japan.

New Year’s morning 

mother’s kitchen crowded

with sisters- in-law




Aratama no  haha no kuriya no  komiae ri



Fay Aoyagi(青柳飛)wrote haiku in celebration of the 1st anniversary of the birth of ‘Today’s Haiku’  in her blog ‘Blue Willow Haiku World’  in San Francisco, CA, USA.

She has been introducing many haiku as possible, translating them into English for non-Japanese readers.

Basho’s Deep North

my footsteps zigzag

on the first snow




Michinoku no  hatsuyuki wo fumu  jiguzagu to


Yousei Hime wrote haiku in a challenging way on New Year’s Day in Michigan, USA.

she tracks lean oxen

with passionate roar, springshunts

for a better year




Sougyu wo  yuyaku motome  yoi toshi ni


Gabi Greve took pictures and wrote haiku in Okayama,Japan.

like Buddha Amida

coming over the mountains

First Sunrise !




Yamagoe no  Amida no gotoku  hatsuhi no de



John McDonald writes haiku in Scots – one of the two languages native to Scotland (the other being the celtic-rooted Gaelic). He also translates it into English in Edinburgh, UK.


spyog-prents athort the snaw

towmond o the teeger



new year’s day

paw-prints across the snow

year of the tiger




Gantan no  yuki ni ashiato  tora no toshi



Marshall Hryciuk wrote haiku in Toronto, Canada.

New Year’s Day hockey

someone has placed a shovel

across the goal line



元日のホッケー シャベルがゴールライン

Ganjitsu no  hokke shaberu ga  gouru rain



Joshua Sellers writes haiku in West Memphis, Arkansas, USA.

the first day’s sky:

blue within blue,

wandering thoughts




Ganjitsu ya  omoi sasurau  aoi sora



William Sorlien writes haiku in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.

He says they have just had an unusually harsh cold spell, lasting from Christmas to now. Temperatures never rose above freezing, and averaged around – 20 C.

taking a bite

from a bitter orange

january thaw




Ichigatsu no  tokeshi orenji  aji nigashi



Louis Osofsky writes haiku in Quincy, CA, USA.

waiting for happiness

i hang

 a new calendar




Shiawase wo  kitai shinagara  koyomi gake



John Tiong Chunghoo writes haiku in Malaysia.

new year day

suddenly i feel myself

so old




Gantan ya  sotsuzen to  oi kanji tari



P K Padhy writes haiku in Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India.

The night celebrates

new star arrival

cracking firework.




Shinsei no  shutsugen iwau  yo no hanabi



RAM SHARMA writes haiku in MEERUT u.p, India.

Hope is the driving force

most joyful source,

Will show you the right way




Kibou koso  tadashiki michi e  karitateru



Ettore Mosciano writes haiku in English as well as in Italian in Rome, Italy.

Cradled by wave,

is the polished rock

fishing the dreams.




Nami migaku  sodateshi iwa ya  yume sagasu



Alberto Savoi also writes haiku in English as well as in Italian in Venice, Italy.

Walking in a mist

have a look of the stars above

this path is still long.




Kiri no naka  hoshi min to suru  michi to o si


Last of all, let me post my haiku and a picture of Mt. Taihei in Akita, Japan.

A new tiger

climbs Mt. Taihei

my first dream




Hatsuyume ya  shinsei no tora  yama noboru



The last part of haiku about the New Year appears on January 23.


― Hidenori Hiruta









Happy New Year

2010 !

the Year of the Tiger


謹賀新年     kinga shinnen

二千十年           nisen ju nen 

平成二十二年  heisei niju ninen

庚寅               Kanoe Tora


Miss Masuda Aika(桝田愛佳), a freshman at Seirei Senior High School in Akita, celebrated the New Year by contributing her haiga to the Akita Sakigake Newspaper (秋田魁新報) on January 1. We readers enjoyed it in the newspaper, sharing the delights of the coming of the New Year with each other.


 Ms. Masuda Junko(桝田純子), Aika’s mother, also contributed her haiku about the New Year to the newspaper.



hatsuharu ya  yama kagayai te  chikara waku


Mt. Taihei shines,

giving me power  

New Year’s Day




This is a picture of Mt. Taihei (太平山), which made me write the following haiku.



aratama no  hikari ni haeru  Taiheizan


Mt. Taihei 

reflects the light

New Year’s Day



Next I post two of my haiku about Namahage (なまはげ), or ‘Ogre’ in the Oga Peninsula, Akita.

The first haiku also appeared in the Akita Sakigake Newspaper on January 1.



Namahage mo  Ogahantou de  go shichi go


Namahage Ogre

writes haiku too  

the Peninsula of Oga




The second haiku is this:



Namahage wa  Nyudouzaki no   hikari kana


Namahage Ogre

keeps the lighthouse

Cape of Oga


Last of all I post haiku and some photos of swans I happened to find a little before the New Year’s Day.

There were swans taking a break during their flight near the bank of the Omono River (雄物川)in Akita.

Fortunately, I saw swans grooming there.



hakucho no  tsukuroi arata  ashi no kishi



groom by the reed bank

for the New Year







We wish you a wonderful 2010 !


― Hidenori Hiruta


Professor Kirby Record teaches as director of English for Academic Purposes at Akita International University(AIU)(国際教養大学) in Akita.

He also writes haiku. He is a fellow haiku poet of mine.


On October 11 and 12, we participated in AIU Festival and exhibited works of haiku posted on the website, giving haiku activities, such as some haiku quiz.

During the event, Professor Kirby Record joined our activities and contributed his  book of poetry titled “A Welcome Coolness” to me.


I post poetry in his book, dividing them into some parts and giving them a Japanese translation, which isn’t sometimes literal. It’s me, Hidenori Hiruta who translated his poetry into Japanese.

The title of his book is derived from the following haiku:

a sudden breeze

in bright winter sunlight, leaves

a welcome coolness


冬光に 爽涼迎ふ 風そよぐ

toko ni  soryo mukau  kaze soyogu



春は花         Haru wa hana

夏ほととぎす             Natsu hototogisu

秋は月                   Aki wa tsuki

冬雪さえて               Fuyu yuki saete

すずしかりけり        Suzushi kari keri



This poetry is Waka (和歌literally “Japanese poem”) written by Dogen Zenji (道元禅師)(1200-1253), a Japanese Zen Buddhist teacher born in Kyoto, and the founder of the Soto school of Zen in Japan.

Professor Kirby Record translated it into English as follows:

To everything there is a season. 




In Spring, cherry blossoms

In Summer, the cuckoo,

In Autumn, the moon,

In Winter, the snow,

Cold and clear.


Dogen Zenji



Here I post haiku about autumn by Professor Kirby Record.


after rain  the ferns in the window  turn gold


雨の後 窓辺のシダや 金色に

ame no ato  madobe no shida ya  konjiki ni 



sleeper car  the clacking of rails  october rain


寝台車 レールのカタットといふ音 十月の雨

shindaisha  re-ru no katta to iu oto  jugatsu no ame



scent  of the rice harvest  at dawn


刈り入れの 稲の匂ひや 暁に

kariire no  ine no nioiya   akatsuki ni



first october frost

just cold enough to feel good

with hands in pockets


十月の初霜  ほど良い寒さに  ポケットに手を

jugatsu no hatsushimo  hodo yoi samusa ni  pokketo ni te wo



japanese maple

 brighter than bright sunlight

all around it


イロハモミジ  日光よりも鮮明  周囲悉く

iohamomiji  nikkou yorimo senmei  shui kotogotoku



autumn moon glowing

   nearly as bright as the sun

sinks into sunset


秋の月 夕日のごとく 鮮やかに

aki no tsuki  yuhi no gotoku  azayaka ni



the autumn colors

on those nearby mountains, blur

into pure whiteness


近山の 秋色かすみ 純白に

kinzan no  shushoku kasumi  junpaku ni



climbing the mountain

how quickly it is passing

forty-sixth autumn


山登る 46度目の秋  速し

yama noboru  yonjurokudome no aki  hayashi



late october rain

on rice fields’ empty stubble:

orange persimmons


10月の晩雨 稲田の刈り株 柿オレンジ色

jugatsu no ban u  inada no karikabu  kaki orenji iro



Next I post some haiku of mine and some photos of autumn.


Autumn high skies

Mt. Taihei coloring



天高く 紫深し 太平山

ten takaku  murasaki  fukashi  taiheizan



Snow-capped mountain

leaves coloring

late autumn


晩秋や 山 雪帽子 紅葉に

banshu ya  yama yukiboshi  momiji ba ni




Japanese maple

brightening the garden

samurai premise


映える庭 イロハモミジの 武家屋敷 

haeru niwa  irohamomiji no  bukeyashiki




The autumn colors

gingko accompanies  

Japanese maple


秋色や イロハモミジに イチョウの木 

shushoku ya  irohamomiji ni  icho no ki



Fallen leaves

into the water

Lake Tazawa


秋更ける 田沢の湖に 散る落葉

aki fukeru  Tazawa no umi ni  chiru ochiba




Princess Tatsuko

sees fallen leaves

how many years ?


辰子姫 落葉見しより 幾年ぞ 

Tatsukohime  ochiba mishi yori  ikutose zo



Last of all, I post my favorite haiku of Basho’s, translated into English by Donald Keene.


Along this road

There are no travellers

Nightfall in autumn



kono michi ya  yuku hito nashi ni  aki no kure



Autumn has deepened

I wonder what the man next door

Does for a living ?



aki fukaki  tonari wa nani wo  suru hito zo


― Hidenori Hiruta




On September 30, the activities of our network were reported in the Akita Sakigake newspapers (秋田魁新報:Akita Sakigake Shinpou).

 That afternoon one of the readers sent to us haiku about ‘autumn rice fields’ , or ‘秋の稲田(aki no inada)’ .  The Kanji characters ‘ 秋田‘  are used as the name of Akita City and Akita Prefecture.

The reader is a haiku poet named 伊藤貞順 (Itoh Teijun) living in 能代市 (Noshiro-shi) , Akita.  She also sent us a beautiful picture of the golden rice fields in the countryside.





First of all I’d like to post her haiku.



akizora ni  kiiro kagayaku  inaho  kana  


Under autumn sky

their yellow color is shining

ears of rice



shuukaku ni  inaho katamuku  kiiro kana


For harvest

ears of rice bending down

how yellow!




konjiki no  inaho ni kansha  aki no sora


A lot of thanks

for golden ears of rice

autumn sky




akino kaze  kiiro no unabara  ine minoru


Autumn wind

rice ripen in fields

like a yellow sea


Secondly, I’d like to show you a picture I took at the foot of Mt. Taihei (太平山 Taiheizan) in Akita, and my haiku.


太平山(1) 006



ten takashi  inada mimamoru  Taiheizan


Mt. Taihei

watching rice fields

autumn high skies


Last of all, I’d like to show you haiku written by Matsuo Basho on ‘the Narrow Road to Oku’, in 1689.



wase no ka ya  wakeiru migi wa  Arisoumi


Sweet-smelling rice fields!

To our right as we push through,

The Ariso Sea.

          Translated by Donald keene



― Hidenori  Hiruta