Spring (haru)

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Spring (haru) 春

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Spring
***** Category: Heavens


The spring season in Japanese Haiku
is fixed according to the Asian lunar calendar from the beginning of spring around the fourth of February until the fifth of May. In reality the spring in Central Japan lasts roughly from March to May.

Early spring : February 4 to March 5
Mid-spring : March 6 to April 4
Late spring : April 5 to May 5

There are many kigo with relation to "Spring", see :

. . . . SPRING - the complete SAIJIKI

. Seasons ending - kigo collection .


© Origa Olga Hooper

early spring
the squirrel still running
upside down

Owen Burkhart, WHCjapan


sleepy in spring, spring slug-abed 春眠 shunmin

frost in spring, haru no shimo 春の霜
sleet in spring, haru no arare 春の霰 はるのあられ
snow in spring, haru no yuki 春の雪

earth in spring, haru no tsuchi 春の土
. water in spring, haru no mizu 春の水; shunsui 春水 .

first spring, shoshun 初春
..... haru hajime 春初(はるはじめ), mooshun 孟春(もうしゅん), jooshun上春(じょうしゅん)

early spring, sooshun 早春
..... haru hayashi 春早し(はるはやし), "thin spring" haru awashi 春淡し(はるあわし)
thin spring 春浅し (はるあさし) haru asashi
..... asaki haru 浅き春(あさきはる), senshuun 浅春(せんしゅん)

signs of spring, haru meku 春めく
In early spring, when it looks like spring, but still some cold days and chilly winds are here. Still there are many signs of spring arriving and we feel great joy about it.
"spring is moving in", haru ugoku 春動く(はるうごく)
"feeling spring", haru kizasu 春きざす(はるきざす)

late spring, banshun 晩春
spring is leaving, yuku haru 行く春
..... haru no nagori 春の名残(はるのなごり), haru yuku 春行く(はるゆく), haru no katami 春のかたみ, haru no yuku-e 春の行方(はるのゆくえ), haru no wakare 春の別れ, haru no kagiri 春の限り(はるのかぎり), haru no hate 春の果て(はるのはて), haru no minato, 春の湊(はるのみなと), haru no tomari 春の泊(はるのとまり),
naru nozotataru 春ぞ隔たる(はるぞへだたる), haru tsuku 春尽く(はるつく), shunjin春尽(しゅんじん), soshun 徂春(そしゅん), "sending off the spring" haru o okuru 春を送る(はるをおくる)

spring begins, risshun 立春
usually February 4.
..... haru tatsu 春立つ(はるたつ), haru kuru 春来る(はるくる), haru saru 春さる(はるさる), haru ni naru 春になる(はるになる)
..... "Great Luck in Beginning Spring" risshun daikichi 立春大吉(りっしゅんだいきち)

"Spring Shrine" shunsha 春社
..... "day of the shrine" shanichi 社日)、shanichi sama 社日様(しゃにちさま)
..... visiting the shrine day, shanichi moode 社日詣(しゃにちもうで)
..... rain on the old man of the shrine, shaoo no ame 社翁の雨(しゃおうのあめ)
..... swallows of the shrine, sha en 社燕(しゃえん)
. 社日様 Shajitsu Sama,田の神様 Tanokami Sama .

night in spring, haru no yo 春の夜
..... yowa no haru 夜半の春(よわのはる)
..... haru no yoi 春の宵, shunshoo 春宵(しゅんしょう), yoi no haru宵の春(よいのはる)
..... evening in spring, haru no kure 春の暮, haru no yu 春の夕, haru no yuube 春の夕(はるのゆうべ), haru yuube 春夕(はるゆうべ), shunseki 春夕(しゅんせき)
..... spring twilight, haru hakuba 春薄暮(はるはくぼ)

cold in early spring, haru samushi 春寒し (はるさむし)


kigo for late spring

haru atsushi 春暑し ( はるあつし) spring is warm
atsuki haru 暑き春(あつきはる)warm spring
haru no asusa 春の暑さ(はるのあつさ)warmness in spring
haru no ase 春の汗(はるのあせ) sweat in spring

haru fukashi 春深し (はるふかし) "spring is deep"
haru fukamu 春深む(はるふかむ) spring deepens
haru takenawa 春闌(はるたけなわ)spring at its best
..... harutaku 春闌(はるたく)
haru fuku 春更(はるふく)


kigo for all spring

暖か あたたか warm,warmth
shundan 春暖(しゅんだん)warmth in spring
atatakeshiあたたけし、nukushi ぬくし feeling warm

Worldwide use

The Spring in Shinjuku Gyoen National Garden

This is the season that flowers of various colours begin to bloom all at once.As it is getting warmer, trees and herbs begin to swell their flower buds.Let's keep our minds clear and listen carefully the sound of spring whispering here and there.
Link with many flower pictures, names in Japanese and English.

Things found on the way


haru tatsu ya shinnen furuki kome goshoo

spring begins--
in a new year,
ten quarts of old rice

Tr. Barnhill

spring arises
ten quarts of old rice
in the new year

Tr. Reichhold

spring begins--
new year, old rice
ten quarts

Tr. Ueda

Written in 1684 貞亨元年. Basho age 41.
Basho used a dry hollow gourd as a box to keep his rice grains 米櫃の瓢, which could only hold five sho of rice. It was a kind of symbol for a poor man.
It was famous and called 四山の瓢, a name given by Yamaguchi Sodoo 素堂 Sodo.

1 shoo しょう【升】ca. 1.8 litres

Rice grains are called "kome, mai 米".
On the table and cooked, it is called "Gohan" ご飯 or "meshi" 飯 めし.

. Rice in various kigo .

. Masu 升 measuring cup .
and another haiku by Basho !

. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .


a cool spring breeze . . .
flowers swaying side to side
in the meadow

Jake S.


a spring breeze
parts the curtains -
an empty crib

on a spring meadow

Laryalee Fraser

Look at the beautiful haiga by Ashe to go with these:


harusamushi kara no kataki o fumikudaku

a shell's solidity
crushed under my foot
early spring

© Emiko Miyashita
Read a good discussion of this translation on this LINK.


 spring rain
 even death valley
 is alive with flowers

Victor P. Gendrano, March 2005

Due to the unusually hard and long rain in California this year, vegetation and flowers not seen in a hundred years are blooming even in Death Valley desert. Botanists and laymen flock there to study, enjoy, and photograph them. This is the time of the year when observing wildflowers alongside freeways is a pleasant pastime especially for city-bred people. Even writers, poets, and haikugroups join in the field day.


on my pretzel---
Spring in New York

© JJ April 2, 2005

Related words

***** Kite, flying a kite (tako, takoage) Japan.

***** Cold weather in autumn, winter and spring . . KIGO LIST

立春や 池の鏡に あれ雲がs
quiet spring day -
the lake a mirror
but aaaa, the clouds !

© Haiku and Photo by Gabi Greve
Look at more photos here:

***** Beginning of Spring (risshun) 立春:
early Spring
risshun, beginning of spring [one of the 24 Seasonal Essences (fortnightly periods);
the next day after Setsubun, February 2 or 3.
春立つ haru tatsu, spring begins
春来る haru kuru, spring comes
春きざす haru kizasu, spring to be felt, sign of spring

. WKD : Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 .

haru tatsu to iu yori miyuru kabe no ana

a new year?
I'm still staring at
that hole in the wall

Tr. Chris Drake

This hokku is from New Year's Day (Jan. 28th) in 1808, when Issa is in Edo. Issa literally mentions spring coming, but in his time the coming of lunar spring was a synonym for New Year's. Actually, the first day of spring is usually a few days before New Year's Day -- in 2013, for example, lunar spring starts on Feb. 4th, and the new lunar year begins on Feb. 10th -- but the exact dates vary year by year. Issa often uses spring to mean the new year, and his haibun work about events in 1819 has the title Oraga haru (My Spring), that is, My Year or Year of My Life. In this hokku, too, he is writing about the new year.

Most of the hokku Issa wrote on this New Year's Day in his diary are ironic, if not dark, and Issa was clearly feeling frustrated and depressed about his cold treatment back in his home village as well as his poverty. At this time he was also writing his recollections about his father's death. The present hokku, too, is grim. This year New Year's is just an abstraction to Issa, and he doesn't feel anything has really changed. People say a new year has come (haru tatsu), yet Issa can't feel it (to iu yori).

Most people have many New Year's decorations up and eat special food, but Issa writes that he is the only one in his neighborhood not to have any small New Year's pine trees standing in front of his door. The most prominent thing in his rundown room is a highly visible hole in the wall which lets in wind and cold air. The hole no doubt also refers to a gap he feels at the center of his life.

Chris Drake


a sign of spring
an eagle flys circular
in blue sky

Etsuko Yanagibori


risshun ya tanuki no koi no nioi kana

.. .. .. .. .. First Spring Day !
.. .. .. .. .. the smell of badger's love
.. .. .. .. .. in the fields

Fruehlingsbeginn !
der Geruch von liebestollen Dachsen
in den Feldern

Gabi Greve
Read a little explanation here:


spring twilight-
two backhoes side by side
on the bank

David Bacharach


***** Cold coming back (kan modori 寒戻り)

kan modori -
let the world be
and take a rest

Gabi Greve (C) 2005


地震に堪え 津波にも堪え 春の土 
nai ni tae
tsunami ni mo tae
haru no tsuchi

it survived the earthquake
it survived even the tsunami -
earth in spring  

Toriyabe Kazuo 鳥谷部一雄
NHK Haiku March 2012

After the BIG earthquake of March 11, 2011
. Poetry for March 11 .


Spring (haru, Japan) Spring begins .. Japan. Many related kigo
Spring comes to an end .. Japan. Many related kigo
Spring activities, verbs used in SPRING kigo A list....
Spring at the beach (haru no umi) Japan. Related kigo:cherryblossom shrimp, sakura ebi.crabs of spring, shiomaneki. firefly squid, hotaru ika. gathering shellfish at low tide, shiohigari. poles for growing seaweed, norisoda
.... Spring equinox, vernal equinox Japan
.... Spring at the Zoo , also Bird's Nest
..... Spring Cleaning ... North America, Europe.
.... Spring Food ... a KIGO list.
Spring pickles (tsukemono) ... a KIGO list.Including namasu dressing, dengaku, wasabizuke and many more
... Spring orchids (shunran) Japan.
.. Spring Peace Mild spring weather (nodoka, Japan)
... Spring light, spring shining (shunkoo) Japan
..... wind shining (kaze hikaru) Japan


. . . . SPRING - the complete SAIJIKI

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Gabi Greve said...

spring thunder -
the rattling glasses
in my kitchen

shunrai ya
garasu no hibiku

Gabi Greve, April 2006

Spring Thunder, shunrai, 春雷、kigo for spring


Gabi Greve said...

kyo yori no/tsuma to tomaru ya/yoi no haru

my wife from today...
spending the night with her,
spring at dusk

... ... ...

haru no yoi/nao otome naru/tsuma to ori

spring evening...
I am with my newlywed wife
who's still a virgin

Sojo Hino (1901-56), by Susumu Takiguchi


Gabi Greve said...

haru tatsu ya gu no ue ni mata gu ni kaeru


spring begins--
more foolishness
for this fool

by Issa, 1823

This first haiku of the year is preceded by a prose passage in which Issa, paraphrasing Basho's, comments that his lack of talents, in Makoto Ueda's translation, "seems to have worked as medicine for my longevity." Ueda believes that Issa's self-mockery is really a subtle self-compliment. He has come to embrace his uselessness as a positive thing.

Like the gnarled "useless" tree cited by the Chinese Taoist Chuang-tzu—with its wood so twisted no carpenter would want to cut it down—Issa the Fool has lived a long life;
Dew on the Grass: The Life and Poetry of Kobayashi Issa (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2004) 144-45.

Tr. David Lanoue

Anonymous said...

some "proper spring"
this is!
snow at the gate

manroku no haru to nari keri kado no yuki


by Issa, 1822

This first haiku of the year has a prescript in which Issa claims that Gautama Buddha, waking up one morning and seeing the light of the stars, came to a realization that he had been living in sin for the previous forty-nine years.

Issa, though he now has reached his own sixtieth year, declares that he is too set in his ways to change. He will remain a fool, he declares.

See Makoto Ueda, Dew on the Grass: The Life and Poetry of Kobayashi Issa (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2004) 140. Issa doesn't mention his age in the haiku itself. It is springtime, but winter's snow is still piled up at the gate, suggesting that Issa, like the weather, has not changed.

Manroku is an old word that signifies propriety, justice, or fairness; Kogo dai jiten (Shogakukan 1983) 1547.

Tr. David Lanoue

Anonymous said...

spring begins--
at least I'm human
fifty years now

haru tatsu ya mazu ningen no go juu nen


by Issa, 1812

In traditional Japan, a person's age increased by one year at the beginning of every new spring. Now Issa is fifty.
This is his first haiku of 1812. Later in his journal, he revises:

haru tatsu ya komo mo kaburazu go juu nen

spring begins--
no reed mat over my head
fifty years now

Shinji Ogawa explains that not having a reed mat over one's head is an idiom for "never being a beggar." Issa's humor lies in the fact that he seems to be bragging about so little: that he has managed to stay at least one step above street beggars crouching under their mats when it rains.
In the first poem, he brags about even less: that at least he's been human!

Tr. David Lanoue http://cat.xula.edu/issa/

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

jigoku-e no oni ga afururu haru asashi

on the hell scroll
there are so many demons -
spring just beginning
Tr. Gabi Greve

榎本愛子 Enomoto Aiko
more about hell paintings

Gabi Greve said...

Niigata 新潟県 .....
南魚沼郡 Minami-Uonuma district 六日町 Muikamachi

社日様 Shajitsu Sama,田の神様 Tanokami Sama,作神様 Sakugami Sama
On the Day of the Shrine in Spring (usually in March) in the early morning before the birds begin to sing, Tanokami is coming down. Since he likes fish, people make offerings of fish salad, fish soup and rice with soy beans. Farmers get up early and put 鍬 / 鋤 the hoes and plows outside the barn for blessings. This is an equivalent for the ritual tauchi 田打ち the first "hitting of the fields".
From the Shrine Day in spring until the Shrine Day in autumn (usually in September) the deity seen as 作柄 the supervisor of the harvest.
If the deity comes late in spring and leaves soon in autumn, it will be a good harvest, because this deity likes to eat a lot, and if he stays too long, the harvest will suffer.

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