Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) is a legendary poet in Japan, who is famous for the scene in which the poet was inspired to pen one of his masterpieces. In 1660, Basho moved to Fukagawa on the east bank of the Sumida River. Because he wanted to concentrate on his artworks. He had live there for nine years. Matsuo Basho made Fukagawa as his base in Edo until his death in 1964.
Matsuo Basho’s works contain many famous haiku because the poet contains descriptions of the Fukagawa pond such as a frog leaping into the water. This was the origin of his famous haiku: “Listen! A frog, jumping into the stillness, of an ancient pond!” This haiku is printed with one of his poem at the top.
According to his artwork, he enjoyed a banana tree planted in the garden in Fukagawa, to call his cottage Basho-an. Also, Edo artists Hokusai and Hiroshige got inspirations from great views in Fukagawa with Mount Fuji. From this record, we can imagine how beautiful the Fukagawa river was.
Unfortunately, since Matsuo Basho moved twice in Fukagawa and Fukagawa area had experienced various changes in land ownership in modern times, the exact locations of all the artworks realted to Matsuo Basho were forgotten and became hard to study.
Interestingly, there is a river in Fukagawa called “Haiku path”. In these days, this river has the wooden panels with many written haiku. Thus this river path became one of the most famous tourist spots in Fukagawa for visitors. Even though many foreigners can not understand Haiku because of its traditional language style, there is a technology for translation which can be offered on the spot.