Shortia flowers at Mt. Seki, Shirakawa, April 7, 2019. (白河の 関山で イワウチワ 開花 2019年4月7日)

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(Shortia habitat at Mt. Seki, Shirakawa, April. 7, 2019. 白河 関山 イワウチワ 4/7/2019)
Today I visited Mt. Seki (618m) or Sekisan at Shirakawa. The mountain is famous that a legendary haiku poet Matsuo Basho visited the mountain in 1689 on the way of his journey to Michinoku or Tohoku region. It is also known that a part of the mountain slope is a natural habitat for a mountain plant Iwauchiwa or shortia. At this time around the plant starts blooming. Picture above shows a view of the plant just started to bloom with its cute pink flowers.
本日は、白河の関山(618m)を訪ねました。山は、俳人松尾芭蕉が1689年に通ったことで有名です。また、山野草のイワウチワの自生地があることでも知られています。イワウチワは、この時期に開花し、写真のようなピンクのかわいい花を咲かせます。

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(Basho's memorial at Mt. Seki, Shirakawa, April. 7, 2019. 白河 関山 芭蕉 自筆の碑 4/7/2019)
Today I approached Mt. Seki from the north. At the trail head, there stood a memorial stone for Basho as shown above. A short passage from his travel essay “Okuno-hosomichi”, which meant “unbeaten track through Tohoku region”, was inscribed on the stone with Basho’s own writing. It said “It has been uneasy through this travel so far, but as I passed the Shirakawa-no-seki milestone I was determined to continue.”
今日は、関山には北から入りました。登山口には、写真の芭蕉(とその弟子曽良)の記念碑があります。芭蕉の紀行文「奥の細道」からの一節が、直筆で彫られています。「心もとなき日数を重るまゝに 白河の関にかかりて旅心定まりぬ」

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So I started walking on the trail from the north and I took a right-hand route when I came to a branch shortly later and made to the summit. Then I descended on the other route and halfway on the route there was a large sitting Acala stone statue as shown above. A mountain slope in the back of the Acala statue was the habitat of Iwauchiwa or shortia plant as you can see a narrow trail on the right.
北からの登山道を入り、分岐点で右手(烏天狗の道)に行き山頂までいきました。その後、別のルート(満願寺参道)を降りると、中間点に写真の不動明王の坐像があります。この裏手の山の斜面が、イワウチワの群生地になります。不動明王の右手の細い道(写真)で行けます。

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(Shortia habitat at Mt. Seki, Shirakawa, April. 7, 2019. 白河 関山 イワウチワ 4/7/2019)
Some close-up views of the shortia flowers today are shown above.
今日咲いていたイワウチワの近接写真のいくつかです。

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(Shortia habitat at Mt. Seki, Shirakawa, April. 7, 2019. 白河 関山 イワウチワ 4/7/2019)
I also found white flowers as shown above.
写真のように、白い花もありました。

The trail head was located near the JR bus stop “Sekibe”. We can take the bus either from Shirakawa or Shinshirakawa Station. Today’s GPS trace is shown in the map at the bottom.
北側の登山口は、JRバスの「関辺」バス停から15分ほどにあります。白河駅からでも、新白河駅からでも乗れます。(一番下にある地図のGPSトレース参照)

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Shirakawa City is qualifying people in terms of knowledge about local history and culture. There are three grades, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. If you pass the official test conducted by the city office then you get a certificate such as shown above depending on the grade you are qualified. Any people can take this test, no conditions. This was very useful not only for studying Shirakawa but also for all Fukushima and even for all Japan.
白河市は、歴史や文化について「しらかわ検定」を始めています。1級、2級、3級とあり、市が行うテストに合格すると写真のような証書がもらえます。条件なく、誰でも受けられます。白河の勉強のみならず、関連して福島県や日本全体の学習にも大いに役立ちます。

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。
20190407白河関山イワウチワ (560x420)

Following Basho’s track in Fukushima and Kunimi, May 22, 2017 (芭蕉 の 福島 と 国見 路を追って 2017年5月22日)

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Basho left Kitamachi, the central part of current Fukushima City, and continued his journey. Photo above was an old Oshu Highway Site remained as it was in Kunimi Town. The site is located about 200m apart from the current National Route 4 and is called Nagasaka Site of an old Kunimi Pass. Basho traveled through this route and his memorial monument stood there.
芭蕉は、現福島市の中心にある北町を出て、旅を続けました。写真は、国見町に残る旧奥州街道がそのまま残る場所です。国道4号から200mほど離れており、旧国見峠の長坂跡と呼ばれています。芭蕉はここを通り、記念碑も残されています。

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The first destination of Basho after leaving Kitamachi was Mochizuri Kannon in the east of Fukushima City. As I visited there today, I found Basho’s statue in front and his monument of Haiku poem in the central precinct as shown above.
北町を出て、芭蕉がまず向かったのは、福島市の東にある文知摺(もちずり)観音でした。本日、そこの入口には、芭蕉の像が立っており、境内の中ほどには、芭蕉の句碑がありました(写真)。

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The old historic temple dates back more than 700 years. Since then many historic buildings and monuments had been built at the site. A board above tells us the history.
由緒あるこのお寺は、700年以上前に遡ります。それ以来、数々の建物や記念碑が境内に建てられてきました。写真の説明板が、歴史を語ります。

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Then he visited Ioji Temple in the west which was located in the current Iizaka Onsen district. The temple started in 826 as described in a board above. The precinct was large as shown in the picture above.
そのあと、飯坂温泉の近くにある医王寺を尋ねました。このお寺は、説明板の通り、826年に開基しました。写真のように、境内はとても広いです。

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Basho then visited hot spring site of Iizaka Onsen. I went to the site he was said to have visited, where a panel shown above stood. It said that this site called Takinoyu Site had long been considered Basho’s bathing and staying place at Iizaka Onsen. But the recent research showed that he might have been to other places such as Sabakoyu or Tozayu, both of which were within this hot spring resort.
そのあと、飯坂温泉に泊まりました。芭蕉が訪れたとされる場所に行くと、写真のパネルが立っていました。それによると、ここ滝ノ湯跡は、芭蕉が入浴したと長らく伝えられてきましたが,最近の研究で、ここよりも鯖湖湯か当座湯が有力とあります。両者とも、飯坂温泉にあります。

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Finally, he headed toward Miyagi Prefecture in the north. There was a historic site in Kunimi Town where he traveled on the way as I introduced at the beginning. At Nagasaka Site of an old Kunimi Pass not so far from border with Miyagi Pref., there was a board as shown above which described his hard journey in his own words from “Okuno-hosomichi”. He said that he struggled through Kunimi Pass getting some illness and recognizing his long way ahead north. But he managed to pass the route with his innocent and vital spirit.
次の早朝、宮城の方に出発しました。最初に紹介した通り、国見町に芭蕉が通った旧道が残っています。宮城県境からも遠くない、この国見峠の長坂跡には、芭蕉の綴った厳しい旅の様子(写真)が、記念碑として残っています。彼は、まだ行先も長いのに、病にもかかり、そのときの心境を語っています(奥の細道より)。

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The picture above shows the current border between Fukushima and Miyagi, where I ended this journey which followed Basho’s tracks in Fukushima.
写真は、今の福島と宮城県境です。今回、芭蕉の福島路を追った私のチャリ旅はここで終わります。

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。
20170522芭蕉_福島から国見 (560x419)

Following Basho’s track in Koriyama and Nihonmatsu, May 21, 2017 (芭蕉 の 郡山と二本松 路を追って 2017年5月21日)

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After leaving Sukagawa, Basho’s first destination was Otsujigataki Falls of the Abukuma River. The waterfall was located on the border of today’s Sukagawa City and Tamakawa Village and the view as of today looked as shown above. Seeing the waterfall, Basho created a Haiku poem which said “Samidareno Takifuriuzumu Mizukasakana”, which meant the waterfall was abundant of water with seasonal rain in June.
須賀川を立ち、芭蕉の最初の目的地は、阿武隈川の乙字ヶ滝でした。滝は、今の須賀川市と玉川村の境界にあり、写真は今日の姿です。滝を見て、芭蕉は「五月雨の 滝降りうづむ 水かさ哉」の句をつくりました。梅雨の時期で、水量が多かったようです。

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Then Basho and Sora traveled along the old Oshu Highway to Koriyama. On the way, they stopped at Tamura Shrine, which was located in the southern Tamura district of the city. The shrine looked as shown above today and a board in the precinct told us about his visit here in 1689.
そのあと、芭蕉と曽良は、旧奥州街道沿いに、郡山に向かいました。途中、今の郡山市田村町にある、田村神社に参拝しました。写真は、本日の田村神社と、芭蕉が1689年に訪れた説明板です。

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They continued their journey northward and arrived at Hiwada district of Koriyama. They visited Asakayama which was a small hill along Oshu Highway. The name was famous as it had appeared a number of times in Tanka and Haiku poems. Basho was looking for small iris flowers, which was called Hanakatsumi in Japanese or its academic name was “Iris gracilipes”. This was explained in a board above.
更に北に進み、今の郡山市の日和田地区に到着します。ここで、旧奥州街道沿いにある、安積山(現安積山公園)を訪ねます。安積山は、昔から短歌や俳句の歌枕として、良く知られていました。芭蕉は、ここで、花かつみ(ヒメシャガ)を尋ねあるいた、とあります。

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I found some of Hanakatsumi iris flowers on the slope of Asakayama as shown above. There also was a board which told us that the flower was designated as the flower of Koriyama City.
安積山の斜面には、花かつみが咲いていました(写真)。また、郡山市の花に指定したとの説明板もありました。

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Basho also visited Asakanuma Swamp close to Asakayama and looked for the same flower. Asakanuma Swamp site was no more swamp today and all the area were rice fields as shown in the picture above. The condition was similar even when Basho visited more than 300 years ago as the “Asakanuma Swamp Site” description board above told us.
芭蕉は、安積山の近くの、安積沼にも行き、花かつみを探したとあります。現在、安積沼は無く、写真の通り、周りは全て田んぼになっています。実は、300年前に芭蕉が訪れたときも、似たような状況だったようです(安積沼跡の説明板参照)。

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Then Basho traveled further north to Nihonmatsu. His destination was a historic Kurotsuka Site. There was an old story of merciless witch who lived in Kurotsuka Site, but finally she was killed and buried under Kurotsuka Mound. Her large stone house called “Iwaya”, and Kurotsuka Mound were preserved at the site. Photos above show an outside view of the site, Iwaya stone house, and Kurotsuka Mound.
このあと、芭蕉は二本松に向かいます。彼の目的地は、黒塚でした。黒塚には、鬼婆伝説があり、ここの岩屋に住んでいたが、とうとう殺されて黒塚の下に葬られたとのことです。現在、安達が原の黒塚には、写真のように、岩屋と黒塚が保存されています。

Actually, Basho stayed a night at Hiwada post village, and the next day he moved to Nihonmatsu and finally to Kitamachi of Fukushima City where he stayed another night. Today, I traveled from Sukagawa to Fukushima in a day and stayed a night near Kitamachi area. Tomorrow is the last journey for me traveling through the northern part of Fukushima Prefecture.
芭蕉は、この間、安積山のある日和田に1泊し、次の日に、二本松の黒塚、そして福島市の北町まで行きました。私は、須賀川から福島市まで1日で来て、今夜は北町の近くに泊まります。明日は、芭蕉の県北の旅を追い、最終日になります。

The exact route and locations are shown in the map below. The map can be scaled up and down with a click and scroll.
ルートと場所は、下の地図を参照ください。地図は、クリックとスクロールで、拡大・縮小が可能です。
20170521芭蕉_郡山から二本松 (560x420)
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A man who loves Fukushima (福島大好きおじさん)

Author:A man who loves Fukushima (福島大好きおじさん)
Local guide for Fukushima (English)(福島地域通訳案内士(英語))
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