This month at Carpe Diem I’m exploring the “Motherland” of haiku, Japan.
Today we are taking a look at the region in which Matsuo Basho, one of the most famous haiku poet ever was born.
Basho was born in Iga Province near (nowadays) Ueno.
Basho’s birthplace is now in Mie Prefecture.
Photo Credit Iga City
The area around the modern city of Iga corresponds to a portion of ancient Iga Province.
Iga is known as the birthplace of the haiku poet Matsuo Basho and the home of the ninja Hattori Hanzo.
The city of Ueno was founded on September 10, 1941, it was often referred to as Iga-Ueno to avoid confusion with other Uenos.
Ueno is the location of Iga Ueno Castle and the Iga-ryū Ninja Museum.
On November 1, 2004, Ueno, along with the towns of Iga (former) and Ayama, and the villages of Ōyamada and Shimagahara (all from Ayama District), and the town of Aoyama (from Naga District), was merged to create the city of Iga.
Traditionally, though, the Iga region of Mie is considered to have always been a part of Kansai.
Mie Prefecture has traditionally been a link between east and west Japan, thanks largely to the Tokaido and Ise Pilgrimage Roads.
With 65% of the Mie prefecture consists of forests and with over 1,000 km (600 mi) of coastline, Mie has a long been associated with forestry and seafood industries.
Photo Credit – Iga Ueno Castle is a Japanese castle located in Iga, Mie Prefecture, Japan.
Construction on Iga Ueno Castle began in 1585, by the command of Takigawa Katsutoshi.
However, the honmaru, or innermost bailey, as well as the tenshu, or donjon, upon which the modern reconstruction was based were built by Katsutoshi’s successor, Tsutsui Sadatsugu.
Sadatsugu was then succeeded by Tōdo Takatora. Takatora renovated the honmaru, giving it 30 meters (33 yards) high walls.
This meant that the walls of the honmaru of Iga Ueno Castle were the tallest of any castle in Japan, a record that still holds.
After the threat of rebellion passed, the castle was not seen to be as important as it once was.
As a result, the tenshu was not rebuilt after it was destroyed by high winds in 1612.
Because of its beautiful architecture, and floor plan, Iga Ueno Castle is also known as “Hakuho” or “White Phoenix Castle.”
In 1935, the tenshu of Iga Ueno Castle was reconstructed out of wood.
It houses a museum which holds a collection of artifacts relating to the area’s history.
Most other parts of the castle lie in ruins, though the towering honmaru walls still stand.
The castle is now a National Historic Site and preserved in Ueno Park.
Iga Ueno NINJA Festa is the annual five-week ninja-themed festival in the Japanese city of Iga (in the former province of Iga), from April 1 to May 6.
Tens of thousands of ninja fans travel to Iga for ninja-inspired performances, competitions, and opportunities to practice ninja skills, organized to promote the city.
My tanka poem using the study of Ueno Iga Province, birthplace of Basho
mie area of forests
basho would have walked through them
reciting his thoughts
following path of nature
memories saved forever