Hakone Ekiden Race


Hakone Ekiden Relay Marathon (Hakone ekiden)

***** Location: Hakone, Kanagawa
***** Season: New Year
***** Category: Observance


Hakone ekiden 箱根駅伝 Hakone Ekiden Race


Hakone Ekiden (箱根駅伝), which is officially called
Tokyo-Hakone Round-Trip College Ekiden Race
Tōkyō Hakone kan Ōfuku Daigaku Ekiden Kyōsō), is one of the prominent university ekiden (relay marathon) races of the year held between Tokyo and Hakone in Japan on 2 and 3 January.

This two-day race from Ōtemachi to Hakone and back is separated into five sections on each day. Due to slight variations in the courses, the first day distance is 108.0km while the distance on the second day is 109.9km.
Only male runners are allowed to run.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Photo source: gojapan.about.com

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Daruma of the winning Ekiden Team

第86回 箱根駅伝. H22年2月20日
source : hideaki


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onnazaka Hakone ekiden otokozaka

women's slope
Hakone relay marathon
men's slope

Kuon Jun 久遠順


Hakone ekiden hatsugochi no naka tasuki tsugi

Hakone ekiden race -
in the first east wind of the year
they exchange sashes

source : umauo

The tasuki たすき, colorful cloth sashes, are a proud part of each team. They are handed from one to the next runner, who hangs it around his shoulder whilst running. They practise handing over the tasuki in order not to loose any time in the marathon.

hatsugochi, the first calm of the year, is also a kigo for the New Year.


Hakone is located in the mountainous far west of the prefecture, on the eastern side of Hakone Pass. Most of the town is within the borders of the volcanically active Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, centered around Lake Ashi.
Hakone is the location of a noted Shinto shrine, the Hakone Gongen, which is mentioned in Heian period literature.
Hakone is noted for its onsen hot spring resorts.
© More in the WIKIPEDIA !

Hiroshige, Crossing Hakone 広重箱根図


Hakone kosu hito mo aru rashi kesa no yuki

to think there are people
who are crossing Hakone pass -
snow in the morning  

Tr. Gabi Greve

Hakone pass:
someone seems to be crossing it
this morning of snow  

Tr. Barnhill

Oi no Kobumi
4th day of the 12th lunar month
Basho stayed with his friend 聴雪 as Hoosa 蓬左 near the Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya.
Even where he was, in Nagoya, it was bitter cold and snowing.
So he thought he was quite lucky to be here in the warmth at a home with friends.

Basho was on a trip before reaching Hosa, to visit a place in memory of priest Saigyo Hoshi 西行法師, the hermitage Shigitatsu An 鴫立庵 in Oiso 大磯 at the other side of Hakone pass.

. WKD - Matsuo Basho Archives 松尾芭蕉! .   


Hakone in Haiku by Issa
Tr. David Lanoue

akibiyori oute koeru ya hakone yama

clear fall weather--
with burdens they cross
Mount Hakone

kogarashi ya kamasu kite yuku hakone yama

winter wind--
wearing a straw bag
on Mount Hakone

MORE - Hakone Haiku by Issa


sekisho yori fukimodosaruru samusa kana

from the checkpoint
it is blown back -
this cold

haru kaze ya onna mo koeru hakone yama

spring breeze--
a woman also crosses
Mount Hakone

. Hakone Sekisho 箱根関所 Hakone Checkpoint .

It was dangerous for women from Edo to go past this Checkpoint.
A woman alone was suspicious of being a prostitute on the run, so they usually did not travel alone.

One of the main roles of sekisho was to control 'incoming guns and outgoing women', which means to prevent weapons from being
brought into Edo and wives and children of feudal lords from fleeing from Edo.

source : www.hakonesekisyo.jp


kasa sashite Hakone kosu nari haru no ame

Umbrellas at the ready,
We crossed the Hakone passes
In the spring rain.

Tr. Mackenzie

under their parasols
crossing Mount Hakone...
spring rain

Tr. Lanoue

putting up my umbrella
I crossed the Hakone pass -
spring rain

Tr. Gabi Greve


. Palanquins at the Hakone pass .

. White Horse of Hakone Shrine 箱根神社.

. Japanese Puzzle Boxes .

Related words

***** Women's slope (onna-zaka)

***** . Place Names in Haiku .

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sakuo said...



sakuo said...



Gabi Greve - WKD said...

Hakone ji ni kumosuke no hi ya aka no mama

at the Hakone road
the memorial stone of a kumosuke -
all in red

Shinkawa Harumi 新川晴美

kumosuke 雲助 shifty carrier, a thuggish palanquin bearer

MORE about post stations

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa


kasa sashite hakone kosu nari haru no ame

crossing Hakone Pass
holding an umbrella --
soft spring rain

This hokku is from the third month (April) in 1818, when Issa was living in his hometown. In the hokku, which seems to be a poem of memory, it is spring in the Hakone mountain range that lies between the Pacific and Mt. Fuji. The range consists of seven peaks and several lesser mountains that remain from a great but collapsed volcano that last erupted in the 10th century, and the range had to be crossed by travelers taking the Tokaido sea route, a major road that ran between Edo, the largest city, and the imperial capital Kyoto. For about 19 miles the road became much narrower and very steep as it crossed the Hakone mountains, since it rose from nearly sea level to 2,776 feet at Hakone Pass, the highest point. Near the pass was a barrier where authorities checked everyone passing along the road, so by Hakone Issa is probably referring both to the highest point on the mountainous part of the road and to the Hakone checkpoint located not far away.

Most long-distance travelers on the Tokaido and other main roads wore round, wide rush or bamboo hats and in case of rain put on cape-like raincoats made of straw and other materials. Umbrellas made from bamboo and washi paper waterproofed with flax oil or persimmon tannin were heavy and less common, and they also made it a bit hard to use a walking stick on the steep mountain, but umbrellas could be purchased at one of the many towns along the Tokaido road. The rain mentioned by Issa refers to the gentle, fine rain that often falls in spring and is so loved by plants. The fierce snow and rain of winter no longer threaten travelers, who are able to move freely across the Hakone mountains now, and some even walk holding umbrellas. There could be one umbrella or several umbrellas here, but I take the hokku to be about one particular umbrella: when it appears in the pass or at the checkpoint it makes people stop and look and feel even more deeply that spring has truly come and is transforming all sorts of things. The almost fragile umbrella also resonates with the gentleness of the rain. At the end of the second line nari makes the verb "cross" objective and situational, so I don't think this hokku is in the first person.

Chris Drake

Gabi Greve said...

Amazake-chaya : The last teahouse on the ancient Tokkaido Highway
Amazake-chaya tea house :: The last teahouse on the ancient Tokkaido Highway, Japan
Address: 395-1 Futago-yama, Hatajuku, Japan  畑宿
Nothing has changed - Satoshi Yamamoto‘s family has been serving travellers there for more than 350 years. The leafy brews haven't changed either. Then there are the gluey, pounded rice (mochi) cakes, charcoal grilled and dusted with peanut powder or crushed black sesame. Hot, sweet, viscous amazake, a non-alcoholic fermented rice drink, the house speciality, comes immediately, with pickles on the side.
The thatched roof is still intact and the floor is packed earth. There is a tea-drinking platform of woven straw mats around the hearth. Customers sit at tables that are polished thick cross-sections of cedar planks. Turn the clock back a couple of centuries and imagine Samurai officials on horseback and pilgrims in straw sandals. Over the past 150 years most of the old Tokkaido has been turned into paved multi-lane highways and railway lines, but a 9km stretch through the Hakone forest – between the villages of Hakone Yumoto and Moto Hakone – has been preserved as a hiking trail. Check out this hiking trail, with hundred year-old trees and paved footpaths worn smooth from the foot traffic of days past. While there were once many teahouses along this stretch, now there is only Amazake-chaya.
What to eat+drink: their specialty “amazake”. a sweet drink made from malted rice, which has been favored by Japanese people since ancient times. On a cold day, take it hot with ginger. On hot days, drink it chilled. For meals, enjoy chikara-mochi with sweet soybean flour, charcoal toasted, three flavours are available: Isobe, soy sauce flavour. Uguisu, sweet soybean and Kurogama, which is Uguisu mixed in with black sesame.
Also available :noodles made with agar called “tokoro-ten”. Its seasonal menus have always been very popular with its customers.