Monday, March 18, 2019

Carpe Diem #1629 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage ... the East route

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode in our journey straight through the Kii peninsula were we are on the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage. As I told you earlier the Kumano Kodo is not just one route, but five different routes and today I love to follow the East route better known as Iseji the Eastern route to Kumano.

Let me tell you a little bit more about this Eastern route: The Iseji route runs along the east coast of the Kii Peninsula between Ise-jingu Shrine and the Kumano Sanzan. The use of this trail rose dramatically in the Edo period (1603-1868) with the increasing number of pilgrims to the Ise-jingu Shrine. After paying homage in Ise, devotees would continue on the Iseji route to Kumano. To prevent erosion from heavy rains, extensive sections were paved with picturesque cobblestones. This route has a diversity of mountain passes, bamboo forests, terraced rice fields, and beaches.

In the Edo period lived a haiku poet who we all know, Matsuo Basho (1644-1694). In the last ten years of his life Basho went on several journeys and one of them was a journey to the Ise-jingu Shrine. So let us look at a few haiku by Basho about the Ise shrine.

Ise-jingu Shrine (also known as Ise Grand Shrine)

from what tree's 
blossoms I know not:
such fragrance

© Basho (Tr. Barnhill)

month's end, no moon:
a thousand year cedar
embraced by a windstorm

© Basho (Tr. Barnhill)

These haiku are written during Basho's visits to the Ise shrines. He didn't actually used the name of the shrine, but in these haiku we see a Shinto touch, because (as you know) Ise shrine was a Shinto temple.

Ise Grand Shrine is one of the renown Shinto temples that are part of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage and it's the most important Shinto Shrine.

Well ... this episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 25th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on.

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