Matsuo Basho on Japan

“Another year is gone
a traveler’s shade on my head,
straw sandals at my feet.”


Matsuo Bashō was the famous Japanese poet (and not so famous traveler) of the 17th century. Travelling alone, off the beaten path, not only did he manage to escape all the dangers of medieval Japan; he thoughtfully preserved his observations, travel sketches and also his wisdom in numerous books. “The Narrow Road”, “Bashō’s Journey”, “Bashō’s Haiku”, “On Love and Barley” – to name a few that have been translated into English.

Here are some of his beautiful haiku, proverbs and saying accompanied by my photographs that I took when I lived in Japan (knowing my images cannot do justice to his words).


“Between our two lives
there is also the life of
the cherry blossom.”


“Winter solitude-
in a world of one colour
the sound of the wind.”


“There is nothing you can see
that is not a flower;
there is nothing you can think
that is not the moon.”


“How I long to see
among dawn flowers,
the face of God.”

Japanese tourists Jizo statues Nikko, Japan

“Every day is a journey,
and the journey itself is home.”

Ryuzu waterfalls autumn Nikko, Japan

“The temple bell stops
but I still hear the sound
coming out of the flowers.”

Trees in the mist, Japan

“This autumn-
why am I growing old?
bird disappearing among clouds.”

2 thoughts on “Matsuo Basho on Japan

  1. Dalo 2013 says:

    These are perfectly poetic shots, and it all flows well along with your words. Fantastic post.


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