Trace Haiku Master’s Path – “Okunohosomichi in Murakami, Niigata

In 1698 , a haiku master Matsuo Basho started his journey called “Okunohosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Deep North)”.  After 320 years, I visited Murakami City in Niigata Prefecture, one of destinations he headed.

The caste town was built in the Edo period and the castle centers town surrounded by 3 districts of ‘tradesmen and artisans’, ‘samurai’ families’, and ‘temples’, each of which has its own charm you can admire.  Walking through the streets serenely framed with black fences with atmosphere of those days is ideal if you would like to calm and refresh your mind on a hot summer day!

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Streets with black fences with distinctive
ambience of castle town (Anzen Koji).

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Various “Machiya” shops still exist.

Matsuo Basho arrived here on August 13th (of lunar calendar) and stayed 2 nights at “Izutsu-ya”, an inn house managed by Kyuzaemon.  It only accepts one reservation per day now and operates a café “Tea Izuzu-ya” attached to the inn.

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Exterior of Inn “Izutsu-ya”.  Basho
stayed here 2 nights.

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A guest room and a bed room on the 2nd floor.

The Tuishu Handicraft House displaying traditional red lacquerware and the Iyoboya (meaning salmon in Murakami dialect) House showcasing the history of salmon fishing in the Miomote River added extra joy to my one-day town walking.

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Iyoboya House, the Japan’s first salmon museum.

Basho Festival will be held on the weekend of August 6 and 7. Our organization will provide panels of “Okunohosomitchi” for display. For more information, please visit here.
*Information on link sites is mostly in Japanese.