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Gichuji and Rakushisha

Reminiscent Places of  Basho

Gichuji (1)

Gichuji Temple, Zeze, Shiga Prefecture

The Gichiju temple was built to venerate the reposed spirit of the warrior Minamoto Yoshinaka (1154-1184), who was also known as Kiso Yoshinaka or Gichu. Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) is also buried here. The inscription of the tombstone reads Basho-oh, venerable Basho. The stone was broken into three pieces due to a severe flood in the past.





































Basho loved Lake Biwa . In 1690 he lived for a time at the Genju-an (Unreal Dwelling) on the western shore of the lake. The hut was a quiet, hidden place. There he enjoyed the idle, secluded life, and described it as follows: In the daytime an old watchman from the local shrine or some villager from the foot of the hill comes along and chats with me about things I rarely hear of, such as a wild boar's looting the rice paddies or a hare's haunting the bean farms. When the sun sets under the edge of the hill and night falls, I quietly sit and wait for the moon. With the moonrise I begin roaming about, casting my shadow on the ground. When the night deepens, I return to the hut and meditate on right and wrong, gazing at the dim margin of a shadow in the lamplight.

          heizei sunawachi jisei nari

        nanigoto zo kono setsu ni ara n ya

         every day's poem is a death verse
         what else could there be at this time?

This comment was made two days before Basho died. The final services were attended by 80 of his disciples and over 300 people came to burn incense for him.





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