Matsuo Bashô: Oku no Hosomichi



I had seen since my departure innumerable examples of natural beauty which land and water, mountains and rivers, had produced in one accord, and yet in no way could I suppress the great urge I had in my mind to see the miraculous beauty of Kisagata, a lagoon situated to the northeast of Sakata.* I followed a narrow trail for about ten miles, climbing steep hills, descending to rocky shores, or pushing through sandy beaches, but just about the time the dim sun was nearing the horizon, a strong wind arose from the sea, blowing up fine grains of sand, and rain, too, began to spread a grey film of cloud across the sky, so that even Mount Chokai was made invisible. I walked in this state of semi-blindness, picturing all sorts of views to myself, till at last I put up at a fisherman's hut, convinced that if there was so much beauty in the dark rain, much more was promised by fair weather.

A clear sky and brilliant sun greeted my eyes on the following morning, and I sailed across the lagoon in an open boat. I first stopped at a tiny island named after the Priest Noin to have a look at his retreat where he had stayed for three years, and then landed on the opposite shore where there was the aged cherry tree which Saigyo honored by writing 'sailing over the waves of blossoms. There was also a mausoleum of the Empress Jingu and the temple named Kanmanjuji. I was a bit surprised to hear of her visit here and left in doubt as to its historical truth, but I sat in a spacious room of the temple to command the entire view of the lagoon. When he hanging screens were rolled up, an extraordinary view unfolded itself before my eyes - Mount Chokai supporting the sky like a pillar in the south with its shadowy reflection in the water, the barrier-gate of Muyamuya just visible in the west, an endless causeway leading as far as Akita in the east, and finally in the north, Shiogoshi, the mouth of the lagoon with waves of the outer ocean breaking against it. Although little more than a mile in width, this lagoon is not the least inferior to Matsushima in charm and grace. There is, however, a remarkable difference between the two. Matsushima is a cheerful, laughing beauty, while the charm of Kisagata is in the beauty of its weeping countenance. It is not only lonely but also penitent, as it were, for some unknown evil. Indeed, it has a striking resemblance to the expression of a troubled mind.

A flowering silk tree
In the sleepy rain of Kisagata
Reminds me of Lady Seishi
In sorrowful lament.

Cranes hop around
On the watery beach of Shiogoshi
Dabbling their long legs
In the cool tide of the sea.

What special delicacy
Is served here, I wonder,
Coming to Kisagata
On a festival day
- Written by Sora

Sitting at full ease
On the doors of their huts,
The fishermen enjoy
A cool evening
- Written by Teiji

A poem for a pair of faithful osprey nesting on a rock:

What divine instinct
Has taught these birds
No waves swell so high
As to swamp their home?
- Written by Sora



Oku no Hosomichi, cuaderno de viaje, del gran Poeta de Haiku, Matshuo Bashô.



  1. Prologue
  2. Departure
  3. Soka
  4. Muronoyashima
  5. Nikko
  6. Nasu
  7. Kurobane
  8. Unganji
  9. Sesshoseki
  10. Shirakawa
  11. Sukagawa
  12. Asaka
  13. Shinobu
  14. Sato Shoji
  15. Iizaka
  16. Kasajima
  17. Takekuma
  18. Sendai
  19. Tsubo no Ishibumi
  20. Shiogama
  21. Matsushima
  22. Ishinomaki
  23. Hiraizumi
  24. Dewagoe
  25. Obanazawa
  26. Ryushakuji
  27. Oishida
  28. Mogamigawa
  29. Hagurosan
  30. Gassan
  31. Sakata
  32. Kisigata
  33. Echigo
  34. Ichiburi
  35. Kanazawa
  36. Komatsu
  37. Natadera
  38. Daishoji
  39. Maruoka
  40. Fukui
  41. Tsuruga
  42. Ironohama
  43. Ogaki
  44. Postscript

Bosque de Bambú, Camino del Haiku.Camino del Haiku