Oku no Hosomichi, Shirakawa Barrier to Shitomae Barrier

Oshu Route

Oku no Hosomichi: Chapter Two
Enjoy the path from Shirakawa to Sendai, Matsushima, Hiraizumi, and the Shitomae Barrier.

Once you pass through the Shirakawa Barrier, the Oku no Hosomichi takes you to The Oshu Route. The Oshu Route goes from Sukagawa to Fukushima, Sendai, Matsushima, and Hiraizumi before arriving at the Shitomae Barrier in Naruko. The route from Shiogama to Matsushima is by ferry, and the route from Matsushima to Ichinoseki utilises a local train and Shinkansen bullet train. This part of the trip also includes traditional Kagura performances.

Oshu Route

In the Footsteps of Basho
Oshu Route

Oku no Hosomichi E-bike Tour Oshu Route


Koriyama to Fukushima Izaka Onsen

From Koriyama we head to Nihonmatsu. We will first visit Nihonmatsu Castle where we can take in views of Kurozuka of the legend of Onibaba fame, and the surrounding cityscape. Next, we head towards Io-ji Temple in central Fukushima City, a temple that the Sato brothers who put their lives on the line to protect Minamoto no Yoshitsune had an affinity to, that also holds a statue of Mochizuri Kannon from the legend of the Mochizuri Ishi Rock. We will then stay at another place Basho stayed, Izaka Onsen, where we can get some well-earned rest.

Both sword and satchel,
Display them in May
Paper streamers

At Io-ji


Fukushima to Sendai

Leaving Izaka Onsen we enter Miyagi Prefecture and ride along the Abukuma River, paying our respects at the Utamakura locations of Takekuma no Matsu The Takekuma Pine, and Takekoma Jinja Shrine. After that, we head towards central Sendai City and visit Aoba Castle and Toshogu Shrine. Then it’s time to enjoy Sendai’s nightlife.

Since the cherry season
I waited for three months
For this twin pine tree


Sendai to Matsushima

Departing Sendai, we travel via Tagajo to Shiogama Jinja Shrine where after we pay our respects we visit Yonku no Shinkama, the location of one of Japan’s top three mysteries. Rather than travelling long distances, this day will be used for a bit of sightseeing. Just as Basho travelled from Shiogama to Matsushima by boat, we will also travel from Shiogama Port on a sightseeing ferry to Matsushima, stopping at Oshima Island to visit Zuigan-ji Temple.

Borrow the crane’s body,
You hototogisu

Sora, in Matsushima


Shiogama to Hiraizumi World Heritage Site

This day starts off with a train ride. Heading on local trains to Sendai, we then switch to the Shinkansen bullet train and head to Ichinoseki in Iwate Prefecture. From Ichinoseki Station we ride our e-bikes to the Takadachi Gikeido Hall, and Chuson-Ji Temple famous for its Konjiki-do Hall. At night, we will enjoy a special performance of traditional Nanbu Kagura by locals put on especially for us.

Summer grass
Site of dreams
Of old warriors

In Hiraizumi


Hiraizumi to Miyagi Naruko

Next we visit the Hon-do (main hall) built in the Heian style, and Motsu-Ji Temple complete with beautiful Pure Land Garden. Following this, we will visit Takkoku-no-Iwaya Temple’s Bishamon-do Hall and the Genbikei Gorge where we will take a rest as we enjoy the famous Kakko Dango sweet rice dumplings. From there we return to Miyagi Prefecture and pass through the retro townscape of Kurikoma as we head towards Higashi Naruko Onsen.


Shitomae Barrier through the Natagiri Mountain Pass to Yamagata Prefecture

Passing through The Shitomae Barrier in Naruko, we finally join the Dewa Route. After navigating the hardest part of Oku no Hosomichi, the Natagiri-toge Pass, we head towards Tendo Onsen.

Fleas and lice…
A horse pissing
By my pillow

At the Shitomae Barrier

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’.