Reader photo: The temple that Matsuo Basho wrote a poem about


TokyoMango reader Martijn Kuik, who took this photo, writes:

In May last year I traveled through Tohoku together with my Japanese wife, at times in the footsteps of Matsuo Basho on a journey he took in the spring of 1689.
I visited a temple called Houjusan-Risshakuji, also known as “Yamadera”, near Yamagata city. This temple was founded in 860 by Jikaku Daishi, a priest of the Tendai sect who founded many of the most important temples in Tohoku. After climbing 1100 stairs one reaches the main tempel building and one can’t help but be overwhelmed by the magnificent view.

In “Oku no Hosomichi” Matsuo Basho writes:

How still it is here-
Stinging into the stones,
The locusts’ trill.

I was pleasantly surprised by the beauty of this temple and its surroundings.

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