Forlornly named: Kuresaka Pass

The journey in the withered field

Bokusui Wakayama is a poet who produced few works. He was born in Miyazaki Prefecture in the 32nd year of the Meiji period (1899). One of his few poems was written at Kuresaka pass on his way to Shima from Hanashiki on October 20th, Taisho 11 (1922). In one passage, he and his apprentice Heiji Kadobayashi walked over the pass on the way to Sawatari in a snowy scene. Bokusui said, “…we went out on a wide withered field later, we went out on a wide stream at Kuresaka pass beside a stand of dead oaks.” There are many monuments to the elements of this poem, as well as many natural monuments, in this place that time has forgotten. A poem named “Kareno no Tabi” was engraved on a monument in 1957 to remember this bygone time.

Kuresaka pass is the place of this monument that memorializes this poet and the important role he played by commuting to and from Kusatsu many times. Now there is a romantic roadway that runs near here, and it and the beautiful scene are still watched over by the statue of Bokusui.

Bokusui festival

Every year on October 20th, the anniversary of the day Bokusui passed through, a big festival is held, people associated with him gather, readings of his poem Kareno no Tabi are performed, and a local chorus group sings an original song of Nakanojo. Nameko (butterscotch mushroom) miso soup is handed out to guests, and local agriculture and other products can be purchased directly. You can also rest at a nice tea house situated over 1000 meters high.