Oku no Hosomichi: Departure point to Shirakawa Barrier

Nikko Route

Oku no Hosomichi: Chapter One
Enjoy the path from Fukagawa to Nikko City, Nasu Town, Kurobane in Otawara City, and the Shirakawa Barrier.

From Basho-An in Fukagawa, Tokyo, the Nikko Route passes through Asakusa, and heads north on the Nikko Kaido from The Site of Yatate Hajime in Senju. From there we visit Soka Shuku in Soka City, Muro no Yashima, Mamada Hachimangu Shrine, and take the Reiheishi Kaido to Kasazuka, Nikko, Kurobane, Nasu-yumoto, and The Site of Yugyo Yanagi before arriving at the Shirakawa Barrier.

Nikko Route

In the Footsteps of Basho
The Nikko Route

Oku no Hosomichi E-bike Tour Nikko Route


Tour explanation
and Haiku seminar

You will receive an explanation of the tour and a haiku lecture at the Koto Ward Basho Memorial Hall near the departure point. You will learn how to operate an E-Bike, check the driving rules and manners based on the Road Traffic Act, and learn how to actually compose a Haiku.


Fukagawa to Kasukabe, Saitama Prefecture

The journey starts with a prayer for safe travels at Basho Inari, a shrine in the remains of Basho-An in Fukagawa, Tokyo. After a brief stop at Senso-ji Temple, Basho got off the boat and began walking in earnest with a visit to The Site of Yatate Hajime in Senju. After passing through the beautiful pine forests of Soka Shuku, we will arrive in Kasukabe City and head to Toyo-ji Temple.

Passing spring…
Birds cry, fish’s eyes
With tears

In Senju


Kasukabe to Mibu, Tochigi Prefecture

On the first night of Oku no Hosomichi, Basho and Sora stayed at Kobuchi-zan Kannon-in Temple. We will cross the Tonekawa River and visit Mamada Hachimangu Shrine in Oyama City, Tochigi Prefecture, where Basho came across the Utamakura “poetic saying” Muro no Yashima.


Mibu to Nikko

We first pay a visit to Kotai-ji Temple, a place known for the Kasazuka memorial in honor of Basho’s death where locals buried the Kasa (bamboo hat) he left behind. From there, we ride along the Reiheishi Kaido to Nikko and pay our respects at Toshogu Shrine, Rinno-ji Temple, and Futarasan Jinja Shrine.

How glorious!
The green leaves,young leaves
The sun sparkling

In Nikko


Nikko to Kurobane

We then head from Nikko via Yaita to Kurobane where Basho spent 13 days, his longest stint in one location. As it is the middle day of the tour, we will stay at Ashino Onsen Hot Springs for some well-deserved rest.

In summer mountain
Bowing before the high clogs
Just beginning the journey

In Kurobane


Kurobane to Nasu Yumoto

From Ashino Onsen we head to Ungan-ji Temple. From there we will take the Nasu Kaido to the Sessho-seki (Killing Stone) at about 860 m (2,822 ft.) of elevation, a place famous for the legend of the Nine-tailed fox, and onwards to Onsen Jinja Shrine.

Even the woodpeckers
Never tear this grass hut…
The summer trees

At Ungan-ji Temple


Nasu to The Shirakawa Barrier

We will travel via the location of the famous Utamakura Yugyo Yanagi (the Priest and the willow) before reaching the entrance to Oshu at the Shirakawa Barrier. From here, we switch to the Oshu Route and make a small stop at Sukagawa City before heading to Koriyama City.

A patch of rice field
The planting finished,
I leave the willow

At Yugyo Yanagi

This project was selected as part of the Agency of Cultural Affairs’ ‘Cultural Tourism Content Enrichment Project aimed at the Revitalisation and Expansion of Tourism’.