Basho Tour

  • Japanese Garden - © Walk Japan
  • Bamboo - © Walk Japan
  • Carrying omikosi (portable shrine) - © Walk Japan
  • Chuzoni, Hiraizumi - © Walk Japan
  • Cruise on the Mogami river - © Walk Japan
  • Festival participant - © Walk Japan
  • Festival participants - © Walk Japan
  • Girls in kimonos - © Walk Japan
  • Haguro Shrine - © Walk Japan
  • Haguro-san 5-story pagoda - © Walk Japan
  • Haguro-san pagoda - © Walk Japan
  • Hojinnoie - the only inn where Basho slept that still exists - © Walk Japan
  • Kenrakuen, Kanazawa - © Walk Japan
  • Matsushima Bay oyster farming - © Walk Japan
  • Matsushima Bay, Basho was at a loss for words - © Walk Japan
  • Matsushima bay - © Walk Japan
  • Motsuji - © Walk Japan
  • Path to shrine - © Walk Japan
  • Shrine - © Walk Japan
  • Shrine - © Walk Japan
  • Shrine building - © Walk Japan
  • Shrine waterfall - © Walk Japan
  • Stone path - © William Mackesy
  • Temple - © Walk Japan

Key information: Basho Tour

    • Follow part of the route taken by Japan's greatest haikuer on his journey which spawned the famous Narrow Road to the North.
      • Walk on country lanes, forest trails and mountain paths. Some superb scenery and endless inspiration. And divine food.

Walkopedia rating

  • Walkopedia rating86
  • Beauty29
  • Natural interest13
  • Human interest16
  • Charisma30
  • Negative points2
  • Total rating86
  • Note: Neg: popular in places

Vital Statistics

  • Length: Variable
  • Maximum Altitude: N/A
  • Level of Difficulty: Moderate
Matsushima Bay, Basho was at a loss for words - © Walk Japan


This is the first time that a walk firm's walk has been so good that we have created a walk page just for it - and also the first time that an artificially constructed walk involving many sections needing linking transfers is so good that its totality deserves its own Walkopedia page, rather than separate pages for its best paths. Well done Walk Japan!


Walk Japan says:


"Basho's most famous poetic travelogue, The Narrow Road to the North, is one of the great works of Japanese literature. This fully guided tour takes us on a unique, authentic experience following in the footsteps of 17th Century Japanese poet. Beginning in the great city of Tokyo, our travels take us to the famous temple (and walking) area of Nikko, then through the beautiful and iconic scenery of the Tohoku region, along the rugged Sea of Japan coast to Sado-ga-shima island and Kanazawa before reaching the cultured old capital of Kyoto. The walking is along quiet country lanes, forest trails and mountain footpaths; all easily enjoyed by regular walkers. Like Basho, we take delight and inspiration from some of the greatest scenery to be found in Japan including Matsushima, one of the classic Three Views of Japan, and the beautiful gardens found at Hiraizumi and Kenroku-en.


Besides the beauty of the countryside we travel through and the haiku poetry of Basho, we also learn of the tumultuous history that wreaked destruction but also nurtured the tough spirit and culture of the people of Japan's northerly regions. The Basho Tour also features visits to onsen thermal hot spring resorts, stays in Japanese inns and sumptuous Japanese cuisine.


We meet in Tokyo and travel through Nikko, Matsushima, Hiraizumi, Sado-ga-shima and Kanazawa before finishing our journey in Kyoto."


It is work pointing out that this is a mixed walking and cultural expedition, a marvelous experience but perhaps not for you if you want hard-core walking. Have a look at Walk Japan's itinerary here.


Best months: April to end October.

Other accounts: share your experiences

Your comments on this walk, your experiences and suggestions, and your photos are very welcome. Where appropriate, you will be credited for your contribution.


We have a lot of helpful practical information and tips about this walk, covering everything from the best books and maps, to timing and weather, geting there, possible problems, whether you need a guide and where to find them, and useful websites. This section is only open to members.

Membership is FREE AND JOINING TAKES 30 SECONDS. To login or sign up click here

Safety and problems: All walks have inherent risks and potential problems, and many of the walks featured on this website involve significant risks, dangers and problems. Problems of any sort can arise on any walk. This website does not purport to identify any (or all) actual or potential risks, dangers and problems that may relate to any particular walk.

Any person who is considering undertaking this walk should do careful research and make their own assessment of the risks, dangers and possible problems involved. They should also go to “Important information” for further important information.

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Shrine building - © Walk Japan

share your experiences

Add your experiences, suggestions and photos. We would be delighted to receive your writing and ideas (which will be attributed appropriately where published).

Anyone planning an expedition to this place should see further important information about this walk.

Bamboo - © Walk Japan...

Responsible travel matters, a lot. How you travel will make a real difference - for better or worse. PLEASE consider this when making plans. Read more