Green pine grove extends 2 km in arch along white sand beach at Takada Matsubara Beach in Rikuzen Takada City, Iwate Pref. This pine grove is of about 70,000 pine trees, which are over 300 years old. The landscape reminds us of the one drawn in a Japanese-style painting. The beach is counted as one of Japan’s 100 Fine Views.
Takuboku Ishikawa, a poet in the Meiji period, who spent his junior high school days in Iwate prefecture, spoke highly of this beach. Also, Kyoshi Takahama, a master haiku poet in the Meiji period, praised the beach and wrote a haiku about it when he visited this place as a member of the judges to decide Japan’s 100 Fine Views. The stone monuments inscribed with their poems are erected in the grove. Approximately 4.4 million people come to this beach for relaxation and refreshment.
Yatsuhasi Iris Festival is held from late April through late May every year in the pond stroll garden named “Yatsuhashi Iris Garden” of Muryojuji Temple in Chiryu City, Aichi Prefecture. It is a renowned place to view Kakitsubata, or the rabbit-ear iris (Iris laevigata Fisch.), about which Ariwara no Narihira wrote a poem in the Chapter 9 “Yatsuhashi” of his famous “Ise Monogatari (the Tales of Ise).” During the blooming season, about 30,000 stocks of rabbit-ear iris come into bloom in the sixteen ponds of the 13,000 square meter garden.
With a history of 55 years, the festival is one of the biggest events of the city. During the festival period, various enjoyable events are held at the temple, such as the photo contest of Yatsuhashi iris flowers, tea ceremonies, the exhibition of bonsai (miniature trees), the tanka poem contest, the shigin (poem chanting) contest and the exhibition of the temple treasures.
The grave of Fujiwara no Sanekata Ason is in Medeshima-Shiote, Natori, Miyagi Prefecture. Fujiwara no Sanekata is known as a young Heian period nobleman who was good-looking and gracious. Also, he is known as the model of the character Hikari Genji in the classic 'The Tale of Genji'. Moreover, he is counted among the Thirty-six Poet Immortals.
In 955, he was banished for striking a rival poet, Fujiwara no Yukinari, on the head in front of the emperor. He received a royal command to travel to see the old ruins in several areas. In 998, he is said to have fallen from his horse and died.
Later, the poet Matsuo Basho visited this site and sang a song here. Nearby is a monument commemorating Basho's visit. The small grave of Fujiwara no Sanekata stands alone within the tranquil forest.
A year was divided into 24 solar terms on the traditional Japanese calendar. Shoman is the 8th solar term. It usually begins around May 21st, when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 60°. Everything on the Earth grow rapidly to its mature size. Fields of wheat ripen into greenish yellow, silkworms eat mulberry leaves greedily, and safflowers come into bloom. In the Koyomi Binran (the Handbook of Japanese Calendar) published in the Edo period, it is written that everything prospers and grass, trees and branches come into leaf.
It is the season when the air is filled with summer vivacity. In haiku, the word “geshi” is the season word for summer.
At Inari Taish Shrine in Saku City, Nagano Prefecture, the annual festival is held to pray for growth of silkworms, rich harvest and business success. It has been held since the Taisho period (1912-1926) and is one of the largest festivals in the Kanto region. Together with the plant fair, more than 500 street stalls line along the front approach.
A year was divided into 24 solar terms on the traditional Japanese calendar. Kanro is the 17th solar term. It usually begins around October 8th, when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 195°.
Kanro (寒露) literally means “cold dew.” In this season, dew starts to freeze as the air gets colder and colder. It is the time when geese and other winter birds com flying, chrithantumum come into flower, clickets and other autumn insects start singing, leaves turn red or yellow, rice reaping is finished, and biting north winds begin to blow. In the Koyomi Binran (the Handbook of Japanese Calendar) published in the Edo period, it is written that it gets so cold that dew is formed by cold air.
The words concerning food such as Japanese raddish pickles, potatoe stew party, or rice reaping are used as the season words indicating Kanro for haiku poems. Kanro is the season that has close connection with people’s dietary life.
Teriha Gorge located in the upstream of the Yunokoya River in Minakami-machi in Gunma Prefecture. The gorge has eleven waterfalls, each of which has the elegant name such as Higurashi (Evening Cicada), Konomi (Nut), Shigure (Shower in Late Autumn), Fudan (Constance), Tsuzumi (Japanese Hand Drum), Kodama (Tree Spirit), Kawasemi (Indian Kingfisher), Hakuryu (White Dragon), Iwana (Char) and Senryu (Diving Dragon), which were given by a Haiku poet, Mizuhara Shuoshi.
Teriha Gorge is a scenic spot with the atmosphere of unexplored land. Tender green in spring is beautiful but the landscape in fall is far more wonderful. The waterfalls gently flow down in the picturesque beauty of the brocade woven with red and yellow autumn leaves. Each of the waterfalls has its own elegance, but the most overwhelming in this season is the Tsuzumi-no-taki waterfall.
As it takes less than one hour to see around the gorge, you can spend leisurely time in forest bathing. It’s the unknown scenic spot.
Flower Bird Painting is a general term for East Asian paintings featuring flowers, birds and insects. this category forms one of three major painting subjects, the others being figures and landscape ('mountain-water').
Flower Bird Painting became an established genre in the Tang Dynasty in China, and reached heights of excellence in the Northern Song Dynasty.
In the Heian period, ink painting was introduced to Japan and by the Edo period the art of Flower Bird Painting had spread among samurai as pictures painted on folding screens and sliding paper fusuma doors at temples, shrines and castles. After that, because of the principles of civilian government, they also became popular among commoners.
In China, realistic painting was popular but in Japan, flowers and birds of the four seasons were painted more abstractly, more like painted haiku poems.
Flower Bird Painting is very popular not only in Japan but in China, Korea and elsewhere in the world!
Waka is a form of Japanese poetry also known as Yamato Uta (songs) or '31 letters'.
Tanka poetry is one branch of waka. Already in the Nara or early Heian periods, the 'Manyoshu' ('Collection of a Myriad Leaves'), had been compiled consisting of tanka. In the Heian period, nagauta and sedoka poetry lost their popularity and waka came basically to mean tanka.
Tanka consist of 5 phrases of 5,7,5,7,7 words each or 31 letters. This is the only rule for tanka; there are no others. You can choose whatever topics you like, for example, daily life, nature, etc.
Tanka has various forms that enable the expression of a wide variety of feeling. Set epithets may be put in front of some special word; puns may be used using homonyms, words with the same pronunciation, but different meanings.
People will continue to compose Waka poems that will change as the use of words change, too.