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Yet_land_bg Japan: Basho's Road to the North

Dates: October 11 - October 23, 2019

Total Duration: 13 days

Cost: From $9,690 per person, double occupancy

Deposit (per participant): $1,000

Activity level: Moderately Active

Edward Kamens
East Asian Languages & Literatures Riley Soles

Tour Operator: Criterion Travel, Inc.

Region: East Asia


Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), the most famous poet of Japan's Edo period and recognized as the greatest master of haiku, renounced the intellectual scene of Edo (modern Tokyo) to wander throughout the countryside seeking inspiration for his writing. Basho's most famous poetic travelogue, Narrow Road to the North, is one of the great works of Japanese literature. Follow his travels in northern Honshu Island from Tokyo to Kanazawa, enjoying gorgeous scenery, delicious Japanese cuisine, fascinating museums, temples, and shrines, and a stay at a traditional hot springs inn.

During a full day in Tokyo, view some scrolls of Bashō's poetry and souvenirs from his journeys at the Bashō Kinenkan (museum), and visit the Edo-Tokyo Museum, whose fascinating exhibits bring to life the city's 400-year-old history. Marvel at the many shrines and temples in Nikko, including Toshogu, Japan's most lavishly decorated shrine, and visit the Shirikawa Barrier, the border between the "settled" regions of Japan proper and the "frontier" regions of northern Japan. Take the bullet train to Sendai to see the temples in Matsushima and enjoy a cruise on scenic Matsushima Bay. The town of Hiraizumi inspired one of Bashō's most well-known haikus about the impermanence of human glory; a soba noodle lunch celebrates Japan's enduring culinary glory! Drive along the "Bashō Route" from Naruko Onsen to the Mogami River, and enjoy a river cruise on "Basho's Rhine." Explore the Japan Sea coast's Hiyoriyama Park, once visited by Bashō, where several monuments to the poet are situated around the grounds. End in Kanazawa, with its well-preserved Edo-era districts, art museums, regional handicrafts, and celebrated Kenrokuen Garden. Immerse yourself in the town of Yamanaka Onsen, the place where Basho and his traveling companion Kawai Sora said goodbye to each other.

Edward Kamens

Edward Kamens is Sumitomo Professor of Japanese Studies at Yale University, where he has taught since... more>>

Riley Soles