Gikeido (Yoshitsune Hall) in Hiraizumi, Iwate Prefecture



Matsuo Basho and Oku no Hosomichi

The summer's grass / 'Tis all that's left / Of ancient warrior's dreams

From the east of Gikeido you can see Mt. Tabashineyama across the Kitakami River. In the eleventh century it is said that 10,000 cherry trees were planted on this mountain. Spring must have been quite a sight during the twelfth-century rein of the Hiraizumi Fujiwara, as thousands of cherry blossom reflected and doubled in the river.
Haikuist Matsuo Basho visited Hiraizumi in 1689, on June 29. His feelings as he looked down from Takadachi upon rustling summer grasses, reflecting on the century-long glory of the Hiraizumi Fujiwara and the tragic end of their rein and the life of Yoshitsune, is expressed in the following famous passage and haiku.

The glory of three generations in the blink of an eye, the great gate ruins a li from here. The ruins of Hidehira turned to fields, only Mt. Kinkei remains. Climbing Takadachi, the mighty Kitakami flowed south from the Nambu domain... I lay down my umbrella and cried, "Though the kingdom be defeated the mountains and rivers remain, and when spring comes to the ruined city the trees and plants bloom.

The summer's grass
'Tis all that's left
Of ancient warrior's dreams

The famous landscape of scenic Oku no Hosomichi

Today, scenic haiku poems remain from all around where Basho once traveled. It is a delight for our eyes and we can feel what the area was like at that time by seeing the thirteen places, including Takadachi since 2014, which have been collectively designated as a scenic landscape. Currently, other scenic areas are continuing to be added.

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