Horai-San temple


- Hoorai san 蓬莱山 Mount Horai-San -

One of the three great sacred mountains of Japan. It is 1,174 meters high.

Located in Shiga prefecture, Otsu town. 滋賀県大津市

It is the second-highest mountain of the Hira sanchi 比良山地 Hira Mountain range.
source : wikipedia

hoorai 蓬莱 Buddhist mountain Horai in China, where people would live forever.
Horaisan 蓬莱山, Horaijima 蓬莱島, a mythical mountain or island of eternal youth.
'Treasure Mountain' or 'Treasure Island'

hoorai ni kikaba ya Ise no hatsudayori
. hoorai kazari 蓬莢飾 Horai-decoration for the New Year .

. fuyu shiranu yado ya momi suru oto arare .
A place with has the atmosphere of the "Holy Horai Mountain" of ancient China.


Basho at temple Horai-Ji 雲厳山蓬莱寺 in Aichi, Mikawa no Kuni, 新城 Shinshiro town
This temple was under the protection of the Tokugawa Bakufu government.
Basho visited on his trip from Otsu to Edo (Azuma kudari 東下).

source : itoyo/basho
Hooraiji 鳳来寺 Horai-Ji

yogi hitotsu inoridashite tabine kana

on Mt. Horai
Due to the blasts of the north wind, it was a cold day. Basho was troubled by his usual illness, stomach ache, and was not able to climb all the way to the top. He may already have turned back after composing his haiku at the Niomon Gate. On top of that, it happened to be the day of the temple’s festival and Basho found that all inns at the foot of the mountain were occupied.

With difficulty, he managed to secure a small room in a dingy place. There was no proper bedding, and Basho felt cold and miserable. Hakusetsu 白雪 ran up the mountain again to one of the sub-temples to borrow a padded kimono for the haiku master to keep warm during the night.
This inspired Basho to the second haiku of that day:

a padded kimono
received by prayer
sleeping on my journey

Tr. and Comment Ad Blankestijn

Written in 1691, 元禄4年10月末

. yogi 夜着 bedtime quilt .

Temple Horai-ji located in Horai-cho, Aichi Prefecture.
The temple was built in 703 by the hermit Rishu. It is sacred to Yakushi-Nyorai and is venerated as a place for curing diseases by many powerful men including Takeda Shingen, a daimyo of the 16th century, and Tokugawa Ieyasu, ruler of Japan early in the 17th century.

The influence of the temple has declined since the mid-19th century, however, when the samurai rule of Japan came to an end, with the result that only the sanctuary, Nio-mon ("Deva King Gate"), bell tower, Okuno-in (inner shrine), Ko-do (small hall), and two small annexes remain today. The approach to the temple features 1,452 stone steps lined with gigantic cedar trees. The remains of the buildings and other structures here remind visitors of the prosperity of bygone days.
source : www.jnto.go.jp/eng

Mount Hooraiji san 鳳来寺山 - 684 m high

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source : hitotudakenoyama

When Basho visited with his disciples, it was just the time of the Autumn festival and every lodging and home was full with visitors. So they had a hard time to find a lodging for the ill master Basho and getting him some warm bedding for the cold night.


sugima 杉間 through the pine trees

Basho also wrote the following hokku at this temple

kogarashi ni iwa fukitogaru sugima kana

by this cold gale
the rocks are sharpened
among the cedar trees . . .

This hokku has the cut marker KANA at the end of line 3.


Oota Hakusetsu 太田白雪 Ota Hakusetsu from Mikawa.
太田金左衛門 Ota Kinzaemon was his real name.
(1661 - 1735) - 享保20年(1735)年6月7日
He was born the fourth son of a merchant family, dealing in rice, miso, salt, tea and other things in Shinshiro town 新城. His grandfather and father had already been haikai poets and so he was well instructed already as a boy. He left more than 200 hokku.
He lost all of his family members later in life and died alone at age 75.

source : www.city.shinshiro.lg.jp

Basho visited the Hakusetsu family in the 10th lunar month of 1691, giving his two boys a special haikai name

the elder brother 重英, age 14, was named Toosen 桃先 Tosen, "Peach the elder"
the younger brother 孝知, age 11, was named Toogoo 桃後 Togo "Peach the younger"

sono nioi momo yori shiroshi suisenka

this fragrance -
whiter than my peach
are the daffodils

Tr. Gabi Greve

In this poem, momo refers to Basho's own name, Toosei 桃青 Tosei (Green peach), and suisen refers to the two boys, 桃先、桃後 "Peach the elder, Peach the younger".
This poem is a celebration of the naming of the boys and his joy about it, which was shared with the parents of the boys.
peach (singular) for Basho
daffodils (plural) for the two boys

. momoiro suisen 桃色水仙 "peach-colored daffodil" .
kigo for spring


source : facebook

Fudo Myo-O near the Mountain Gate of the temple


. hoorai kazari 蓬莢飾 Horai-decoration .

. - Places visited by Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - .

. Cultural Keywords used by Basho .

. - KIGO used by Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - .