The following listing is taken with permission from Gabi Greve’s blogspot on Kyoto the Flower Capital – “Hana no Miyako.


capital of blossoms“, hana no miyako 花の都
Kyoto in cherry blossoms, Kyoto during the cherry blossom season
miyako no hana 都の花 the flowering capital (cherry blossom)

. Cherry blossoms (sakura 桜)


miwataseba yanagi sakura o kokimazete
miyako zo haru no nishiki narikeru

gazing over the capital
green willow threads entwine
soft red cherry blossoms
as if the Heian capital
had spread a spring brocade

The Monk Sosei 素性法師 (around 910)
Kokin Wakashu Poetry Collection 古今和歌集

source : yoshida

Kaiseki meal in memoriam of the above waka poem.

. Poetry and Japanese Food .


CLICK for more photos

Kyoto 京都

Heian-kyō, Heiankyoo, Heiankyo (平安京 “tranquility and peace capital”), became the seat of Japan’s imperial court in 794, beginning the Heian period of Japanese history. In Japanese, the city has been called:
Kyo (京), Miyako (Miako) (都) or Kyo no Miyako (京の都). Keishi (京師), meaning “metropolis”.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


ka-bashira no ana kara miyuru miyako kana

through a hole
in the mosquito swarm…

The mosquitoes are swarming in a column (ka-bashira).
The “capital” (miyako) was Kyoto in Issa’s day. This is where the emperor and his court lived. Political and military power was centered in the Shogun’s city of Edo, today’s Tokyo. Sakuo Nakamura pictures Issa, as he approached Kyoto, feeling heavy pressure to do well in this cultural and literary center. “Those pressures stood before him like a mosquito swarm.”
Issa, 1814 (Tr. David Lanoue)


. Fushimi 伏見 .

visited by Matsuo Basho and Yosa Buson.


Rakuchuu (洛中) Central Kyoto

Rakuchu ni kikyoo no hana ga mikka saki

in central Kyoto
bellflowers boom
three days long

Haifu Yanagidaru Senryu Collection 誹風柳多留

Temple Daikomyo-Ji 大光明寺


Shimogyo-ku (下京区) is one of the eleven wards in the city of Kyoto.
First established in 1879 as an administrativev unit, it has been merged and split, and took on its present boundaries in 1955, with the establishment of a separate Minami-ku.
Kyoto Tower and Kyoto Station are major landmarks in Shimogyo-ku.
Shimogyo-ku has a population of 74,897 and an area of 6.82 km². Three rivers, Horikawa, Kamogawa and Takasegawa, are in the ward.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

shimogyô ya kurai uchi kara hana no haru

Shimogyo Town–
in the dark before dawn
spring blossoms

. . . . .

shimogyô no mado kazoe keri haru no kure

counting the windows
of Shimogyo Town…
spring dusk

Kobayashi Issa
Tr. David Lanoue


Bridges 橋 hashi

shijoo oohashi 四条大橋 big bridge at Shijo

gojoo oohashi 五条大橋 big bridge at Gojo

. Ushiwaka-maru and Benkei at Gojo Bridge .

shunsui ya Shjoo Gojoo no hashi no shita

water of spring –
at Shijo and Gojo
under the bridges

. water in spring, haru no mizu 春の水 .

source :

Bungobashi 豊後橋 Bungo-bashi Bridge
now Kangetsukyoo 観月橋 Kangetsu-kyo Bridge in Fushimi ward 伏見, spanning the Yodogawa river 淀川.

This bridge has already been there in the Kamakura period under the name Katsurabashi 桂橋
Ryoogunbashi 両郡橋 or Shigetsubashi 指月橋).
Later it was rebuilt by Toyotomi Hideyoshi at a length of about 200 meters and called Bungobashi. During the Edo period, the pillars were replaced about 18 times.

asagiri ya enokoro hitotsu Bungobashi

Misty morning.
The sleeping Bungo-bridge
is crossed by a puppy.
Tr. ? – source Terebess

tetsugaku no michi 哲学の径 / 哲学の道
The Philosopher’s Path

Der Philosophenweg, Heidelberg, Germany is the original.

The Philosopher’s Walk, Philosoper’s Road
a pedestrian path that follows a cherry-tree-lined canal in Kyoto, between Ginkaku-ji and Nanzen-ji. The route is so-named because the influential 20th century Japanese philosopher and Kyoto University professor Nishida Kitaro is thought to have used it for daily meditation. It passes a number of temples and shrines such as Hōnen-in, Ōtoyo Shrine, and Eikan-dō Zenrin-ji. It takes about 30 minutes to complete the walk, although many people spend more time visiting the sights along the way. On the norther part of the walk, there are good views of the nearby Daimonji. The walk is a popular destination for tourists and locals, especially during hanami.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

hatsufuyu no tetsugaku no michi ichi shijin

beginning of winter
on Philosopher’s Road
one poet

Sakiko Fujishima 藤島咲子

source : Tr. Fay Aoyagi

Der Philosophenweg
ist ein circa zwei Kilometer langer, vor allem zu Beginn sehr steiler Weg, der vom Heidelberger Stadtteil Neuenheim auf den Heiligenberg führt. Er liegt damit dem Heidelberger Schloss am Königstuhl direkt gegenüber und ist eine der Sehenswürdigkeiten Heidelbergs.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !


Philosopher’s Walk
a squirrel in the path
looking to and fro

Chen-ou Liu
Ajax, Ontario, Canada


miyakobe ya fuyugomori sae isogashiki

Kyoto people
stay busy outside
all winter long
Tr. Chris Drake
This hokku was written in the 11th month (December) of 1816, when Issa had left his hometown for a while and traveled back to Edo to see poets there. The difference between his hometown and Edo must have been extreme in winter. In Edo people went outside and kept busy during the whole winter, unlike the home confinement people experienced during much of the winter in the snow country, in which Issa’s hometown was located. In this hokku, however, Issa evokes not Edo, the location of the shogun’s castle and actual center of power in Japan, but the ancient capital of Kyoto, nominally the capital though the “reigning” emperor or empress was merely a figurehead. Perhaps Issa focuses on Kyoto because even more important annual events were scheduled there than in busy Edo.

In addition to being the site of a diligent court that continuously carried out empty rituals, Kyoto had hundreds of Buddhist temples, many of them the head temple of their school, and perhaps even more Shinto shrines. Numerous important ceremonies, festivals, performances, and events took place there every single day throughout the winter, and Kyoto’s thriving economy also continued to operate at a rapid pace. To speak of “winter confinement” in Kyoto is a contradiction in terms, and the phrase was used there and in the other larger cities of Issa’s time mainly as an elegant euphemism for staying indoors a bit more in winter.

Chris Drake




Modern Kyoto in Winter
Tokuriki Tomikichiro (1902-2000)


Oohara 大原 Ohara Kyoto
Ohara is a rural town nestled in the mountains of northern Kyoto, about one hour from Kyoto Station, but still technically located within Kyoto’s city limits. Ohara is best known for Sanzenin Temple and particularly popular in mid November during the autumn leaf season, which typically occurs about one week earlier than in central Kyoto. Ohara is also famous for the “women from Ohara”, ooharame 大原女, Oharame, who used to carry vegetabels and firewood to the market in Kyoto and make a good living.

observance kigo for late winter

oohara zakone 大原雑魚寝 (おおはらざこね)
sleeping together at Ohara
…. zakone 雑魚寝(ざこね) “group sleep”
“like all kind of fish”, all crowded together
on the night before setsubun, February 3 at shrine 江文神社 Ebumi Jinja

This is the night of the zakone in Ohara,when all the people of the village, young and old of both sexes, masters and servants, all are allowed to lie down together and sleep in the Ebumi shrine. It is a kind of vigil before setsubun, a religious custom, and for once no restrictions whatsoever are placed on what the sleepers may venture to do. Many couples found together on this night.
This is based on a legend of a large man-eating snake, which came down to the village when hungry, and the villagers all bundled together to be safe.
But it has been forbidden to do this since the Meiji period.

The custom of zakone is also alive in other temples and shrines in Japan, sometimes during O-Bon in autumn or on the last night of the year.

karabito to zakone mo suran onna kana

lying down together
with people from China –
these women

Kobayashi Issa 一茶
Tr. Gabi Greve