Seasons ending


summer's end -
a new beginning
at Haiku Hut

This page is dedicated to Mike Rehling and the Haiku Hut!


September 24, 2007


Seasons Ending

***** Location: Japan
***** Season: Various, see below
***** Category: Season


Each change of a season brings a mixed bag of feelings, some people are happy it is over, some would like it to last a bit longer ... all can be expressed in kigo.
As the season winds down, we remember the good things of it and ponder our expectations for the coming season.

Here let us look at some kigo related to the END of each season. Each belongs to the "late" part of the season words.

If you can think of different and better ways to translate these words, please let me know.

Gabi Greve

A friend once remarked:
end of autumn, i'm not sure if this sounds good in a haiku, it seems just a statement rather than an image.

I hope the kigo collection below helps you choose the right kigo for your haiku.


There are some special expressions in Japanese that are used to express the ending of a season.

hate 果て

A first ku (hokku) that can stand alone, usually with a mention of a special area, an independent hokku, is called
jihokku 地発句(じほっく)

The last ku of a linked verse is "ageku 挙句", and there is a popular Japanese proverb, ageku no hate 挙句の果て, at the last ku, meaning "at last" (with a strong feeling of relief that it is over!).


hedataru, 隔たる ... to be distant from

minato, 湊 ... This is an old use, here meaning is "the end of a season"
(now the character means "port, harbour" )

nagori, 名残 ... a trace of something

oshimu, 惜しむ ... to hold something dear, place great value on something
to lament the passing of a season

tonari/donari 隣(どなり)

SPRING and AUTUMN, two special seasons to come to an end

The end of the pleasant spring season with its mild temperatures is especially sad, since now the hot and humid summer is starting.

In autumn, the feeling of sadness and loss is expecially explicit in most of the kigo related to its parting. The coming winter season was a hard one to live through in the times without electricity and central heating of the Edo period.

We have "Spring is leaving, Autumn is leaving" haru/aki yuku, but the same expressions are not used for winter and summer.

The same holds for the combinations with OSHIMU 惜しむ, which are only used in spring and autumn. In winter, it is used in relation to the change of the year, not so much the change of the weather. Oshimu is used to express a strong poetic feeling. It has been used by the people since olden times, it also expresses the honest feeling of the farmers since historic times.

tsuku, coming to an end, 尽く(つく)is only used for march in spring and september in autumn to denote the change of the season.

tonari, next to the following season, can be used for all the four seasons.
It expresses the change of all things, as it is also seen in the life and death of humans too. It also carries a bit of the worries the new season might bring, like saying a little prayer "let it not be too harsh in the coming season"! And then the farmers had to go on with the preparations for the new season.


Poets of the Heian period remind us already of the importance of spring and autumn.


haru wa tada hana no hitoe ni saku bakari
mono no aware wa aki zo masareru

Blooms simply
in one petal of the cherry blossoms -
In autumn mono no aware
is at its highest.

Shuishu 拾遺集 / 拾遺和歌集
Tr. Norinaga Motoori, Michael F. Marra

Arare cracker devoted to the poetry collection
Ogura Hyakunin Isshu 百人一首

source : www.m-biotics.com

Ogurayama shunjuu おぐら山春秋 
Spring and Autumn at Mount Ogura

The poetry of Yamato springs from the heart of man as its seed, producing the countless leaves of language. Multitudinous are the affairs of men in this world - what their minds think, what their eyes see, what their ears hear they must find words to express.
Listening to the warbler singing amid the blossoms of spring,
or to the murmur of frogs in the marshes in autumn,
we know that every living thing plays its part in the mingled music of nature.
Ki no Tsurayuki
source : One_Hundred_Poems

. Ogura Hyakunin Isshu Poems 小倉百人一首 .



spring is leaving, passing spring, departing spring,
parting spring, yuku haru 行く春 (ゆくはる)

... haru yuku 春行く(はるゆく)
banshun 晩春 late spring
The end of the pleasant spring season with its mild temperatures is especially sad, since now the hot and humid summer is starting.

lingering spring, haru no nagori 春の名残(はるのなごり)
mementos of spring, haru no katami 春のかたみ(はるのかたみ)

end of spring, spring's end, spring comes to a close
... kure no haru 暮の春 (くれのはる)
... boshun 暮春 (ぼしゅん)
... haru kururu 春暮るる (はるくるる)

spring is leaving, haru no yukue 春の行方(はるのゆくえ)
spring is leaving, haru no wakare春の別れ(はるのわかれ)

nothing left of spring, haru no kagiri 春の限り(はるのかぎり)
end of spring at last, spring's end,
... haru no hate 春の果て(はるのはて)

spring is going, haru no minato 春の湊(はるのみなと)

haru no tomari 春の泊(はるのとまり)
spring has come to an end

"oh spring, you are parting", haru zo hedataru
... 春ぞ隔たる(はるぞへだたる)

spring coming to an end, haru tsuku 春尽く(はるつく)
..... shunjin春尽(しゅんじん), soshun徂春(そしゅん)

seeing off the spring, haru o okuru
... 春を送る(はるをおくる)

spring without tomorrow, asu naki haru 翌なき春(あすなきはる)
"no comeback for spring", spring with no tomorrow

to lament about the passing of spring, lamenting spring
haru oshimu 春惜しむ はるおしむ
..... haru o oshimu 春を惜しむ(はるをおしむ)
..... sekishun 惜春(せきしゅん)、

... ... ...

summer is near, natsu chikashi 夏近し (なつちかし)
... spring is close by, in the neighbourhood
natsu donaru 夏隣る(なつどなる), natsu donari 夏隣(なつどなり)
summer is close, natsu chikamu 夏近む(なつちかむ)
... chikamu natsu 近き夏(ちかきなつ)

month of Yayoi (now April)i is coming to an end,
... yayoi jin 弥生尽 (やよいじん)
Yayoi is the month of growth in the Asian lunar calendar.
5 April – 5 May

april is over, shigatsu jin 四月尽 しがつじん
shigatsu owaru 四月終る(しがつおわる)
shigatsu tsuku 四月尽く(しがつつく)

. . . . SPRING
the complete SAIJIKI



end of summer, at last, natsu no hate
夏の果 (なつのはて)

... natsu hate 夏果(なつはて)

summer is going, yuku natsu ゆく夏(ゆくなつ)

summer comes to an end, natsu owaru, 夏終る(なつおわる)
summer is leaving, natsu no wakare 夏の別れ(なつのわかれ)

to lament about the passing of summer, lamenting summer
... natsu oshimu 夏惜しむ(なつおしむ)

end of summer, kure no natsu 暮の夏(くれのなつ)

nothing left of summer, natsu no kagiri
... 夏の限り(なつのかぎり)

running after summer, natsu o ou 夏を追う(なつをおう)

month Minazuki (now July) is coming to an end
minazuki jin 水無月尽 (みなづきじん )
Minazuki is waterless month in the Asian lunar calendar.
7 July – 7 August

July is over, shichigatsu jin 七月尽(しちがつじん)

"waiting for autumn", aki o matsu 秋を待つ (あきをまつ)

..... aki matsu 秋待つ(あきまつ)

aki chikashi 秋近し (あきちかし) autumn is near
..... aki donari 秋隣(あきどなり
..... aki tonaru 秋隣る(あきとなる)
aki no tonari 秋の隣り(あきのとなり)
aki no sakai 秋の境(あきのさかい)border to autumn
aki semaru 秋迫る(あきせまる)autumn comes closer
kinu aki 来ぬ秋(こぬあき) autumn comes

"tomorrow is autumn", asu wa aki 翌は秋(あすはあき)
tomorrow comes autumn, asu kuru aki 翌来る秋(あすくるあき)

"night is like autumn", autumnal night,
... yoru no aki 夜の秋 (よるのあき)

. . . . SUMMER
the complete SAIJIKI


YUKU AKI in photos !


autumn is leaving, yuku aki 行く秋 (ゆくあき)
"fleeting autumn" (Tr. Higginson)
... aki yuku 秋行く(あきゆく)
banshuu 晩秋 (ばんしゅ) late autumn
..... oso aki 晩秋(おそあき)
..... kishuu 季秋(きしゅう)
matsushuu 末秋(まつしゅう)
sue no aki 末の秋(すえのあき)
In autumn, the feeling of sadness and loss is expecially explicit in most of the kigo related to its parting. The coming winter season was a hard one to live through in the times without electricity and central heating of the Edo period.

lingering autumn, aki no nagori 秋の名残(あきのなごり)
..... nokoru aki 残る秋(のこるあき)
autumn is leaving, aki no wakare, 秋の別(あきのわかれ)
autumn is over, aki no owari 秋の終(あきのおわり)

nothing left of autumn, aki no kagiri

autumn is going, aki no minato 秋の湊(あきのみなと)
autumn is leaving, aki no yukue 秋の行方(あきゆくえ)

"autumn is going home", kaeru aki
seeing autumn off, aki ni okururu 秋に後るる(あきにおくるる)

"oh autumn, you are parting" aki zo hedataru
... 秋ぞ隔る(あきぞへだたる)

end of autumn at last, aki no hate

autumn has passed, aki sugu 秋過ぐ(あきすぐ)

to lament about the passing of autumn, lamenting autumn,
aki oshimu 秋惜む (あきおしむ)

winter is close, fuyu donari 冬隣 (ふゆどなり)
fuyu tonaru 冬隣る(ふゆとなる)
winter is near, fuyu chikashi 冬近し(ふゆちかし)
waiting for winter, fuyu o matsu 冬を待つ(ふゆをまつ)

"september is over" kugatsu jin 九月尽 (くがつじん)
... kugatsu tsuku 九月尽く(くがつつく)
"September" in the old lunar calendar, means the end of the autumn season. Now it is mostly the beginning of November. In the lunar calendar, this kigo was often used on the last day (misoka) of the ninth month.

We also have a time of the day

. Autumn dusk (aki no kure 秋の暮) .
autumn nightfall, autumn evening, autumn eve



winter is over, fuyu tsuku 冬尽く (ふゆつく)
..... mifuyu tsuku み冬尽く(みふゆつく)
..... fuyu owaru 冬終る(ふゆおわる)

end of winter at last, fuyu hatsu 冬果つ(ふゆはつ)

winter is going, fuyu yuku 冬行く(ふゆゆく)
..... fuyu saru 冬去る(ふゆさる)

lingering winter, fuyu no nagori 冬の名残(ふゆのなごり)

nothing left of winter, fuyu no kagiri
winter is leaving, fuyu no wakare

seeing off the winter, fuyu okuru 冬送る(ふゆおくる)

- - - - - BUT

fuyu no kure 冬の暮 (ふゆのくれ) winter evening
fuyu no yuube 冬の夕(ふゆのゆうべ)
fuyu no yoi 冬の宵(ふゆのよい)
kanbo 寒暮(かんぼ)


The following kigo express the strong wish for spring to start soon!

kigo for mid-winter

haru matsu 春待つ (はるまつ) waiting for spring

..... haru o matsu 春を待つ(はるをまつ)
..... taishun 待春(たいしゅん)
The daily cold is still a reality, but the human feeling is already in the near future.

In the year 2012, this feeling is mixed with the memories of March 11, 2011

. Japan after the BIG earthquake March 11, 2011 .

nai tsunami haru ni aishi mo haru o matsu

even if we remember in spring
the earthquake and the tsunami -
waiting for spring

Matsunaga Sakufuu 松永朔風

haru o matsu tsunami o kioku seshi tsuchi mo

waiting for spring -
even the earth with it's memories
of the tsunami

source : princeetlapine

Fukuda Yumi 福田由美


kigo for late winter

spring is near, haru chikashi 春近し (はるちかし)
..... haru tonari 春隣(はるとなり)
..... haru o tonari 春を隣(はるをとなり)
..... haru tonaru 春隣る(はるとなる)

spring very close, haru majika 春まぢか(はるまぢか)
heading fast toward spring, haru o isogu

spring still far, haru tooshi 春遠し(はるとおし)
..... haru tookaraji 春遠からじ(はるとおからじ)
..... haru yaha tooki 春やは遠き(はるやはとおき)

spring wind is close, harukaze chikashi

"spring of tomorrow", asu no haru 明日の春(あすのはる)

"spring will start this year", nennai risshun
年内立春 (ねんないりっしゅん)

"spring in this winter", fuyu no haru 冬の春(ふゆのはる)
"spring in this year", toshi no haru 年の春(としのはる)
..... toshi no uchi no haru 年の内の春(としのうちのはる)

"spring on the last day of the year (oomisoka)
jojitsu risshun 除日立春(じょじつりっしゅん)

According to the Asian lunar calendar, the beginning of the New Year co-incided with the beginning of spring.



There are quite a few expressions in Japanese for this important part of a year.
Remember that in the Asian lunar calendar this was identical with the beginning of spring (at least one month later than now in Japan).

kigo for mid-winter

toshi no kure 年の暮 (としのくれ) end of the year
..... kure 暮(くれ)

saibo 歳暮(さいぼ)、saibon 歳晩(さいばん)、nenmatsu 年末(ねんまつ)、saimatsu 歳末(さいまつ)、bosai 暮歳(ぼさい)、bansai 晩歳(ばんさい)、toshi no sue 年の末(としのすえ)、toshi no kiwa 年の際(としのきわ)、toshi no se 年の瀬(としのせ)、toshi no hate 年の果(としのはて)、toshi no owari 年の終(としのおわり)
toshi no saka 年の坂(としのさか)、toshi no tooge 年の峠(としのとうげ)、toshi no kozue 年の梢(としのこずえ)、toshi no o 年の尾(としのお)
toshi no minato 年の湊(としのみなと)、toshi no seki 年の関(としのせき)
toshi no nagori 年の名残(としのなごり)、toshi no nokori 年の残り(としののこり)

toshi no wakare 年の別れ(としのわかれ)"good bye to the year"

toshi no oku 年の奥(としのおく)、toshi no kishi 年の岸(としのきし)
toshi no fuyu 年の冬(としのふゆ)"winter of the year"

toshi no isogi 年の急ぎ(としのいそぎ)year ends (fast)

toshi kururu 年暮るる(としくるる)year comes to an end
toshi tsukuru 年尽くる(としつくる)、toshi hatsuru年果つる(としはつる)、toshi tsumaru 年つまる(としつまる)、
toshi fukashi 年深し(としふかし)"the year is deep"

kazoebi 数え日 (かぞえび) counting the days
This is a rather new kigo. When people start to count the days with the ten fingers of their hands.

toshi no uchi 年の内 (としのうち) within the year
..... nennai 年内(ねんない), before the end of the year

yuku toshi 行く年 (ゆくとし) the old year
(the passing year)
nagaruru toshi 流るる年(ながるるとし)
toshi ayumu 年歩む(としあゆむ)、inuru toshi 去ぬる年(いぬるとし)、toshi yuku 年逝く(としゆく)

kotsugomori 小晦日 (こつごもり) december 30
one day before the last day of the year, the 29th of december in the lunar calendar, now december 30

toshigomori, toshi gomori 年籠 'としごもり) retreat at the end of the year
toshi mairi 年参(としまいり) pilgrimage at the end of the year

. oomisoka 大晦日 last day of the year   

. End of the Year activities  

toshikoshi, toshi koshi 年越 (としこし) seeing the old year out
toshi kosu 年越す(としこす)、ootoshikoshi 大年越(おおとしこし)
toshi utsuru 年移る(としうつる)

. toshikoshi soba noodles 年越し蕎麦  

toshi no yo 年の夜 (としのよ) (last) night of the year
joya 除夜(じょや)、toshiya 年夜(としや)、toshi no ban 年の晩(としのばん)
toshi hitoyo 年一夜(としひとよ)
joseki 除夕(じょせき)
joya moode 除夜詣(じょやもうで)shrine visit at the last night

. . . . . but

Setsubun Daruma from Shrine Yoshida Jinja 吉田神社

toshikoshi moode 年越詣 (としこしもうで)
visiting a temple or shrine on the last night of the year

..... setsubun moode 節分詣(せつぶんもうで) Setsubun Mode pilgrimage
visiting a temple or shrine at the change of the season
..... 節分籠(せつぶんごもり) staying at home during the change of the season
retreat at Setsubun
(setsubun according to the Asian lunar calendar was the end of winter / beginning of spring)

yakuzuka 厄塚 (やくづか) mound to ward off evil
kigo for late winter

A yakuzuka was erected to keep the evil spirits at bay during the New Year time.
The most famous is at Yoshida Shrine in Kyoto.
At the Setsubun night huge fires are lit and people throw simple clay dishes (kawarake) down the valley.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

. Atago Shrine .
At the Atago mountain in Kyoto it was a custom to throw simple clay dishes (kawarake) from the mountain to make a wish come true.



last year, kozo 去年 (こぞ) , kyonen 去年(きょねん)
... kyosai 去歳(きょさい)、
old year, kyuunen 旧年(きゅうねん)

old winter, kyuutoo 旧冬(きゅうとう)
old year, furutoshi 古年(ふるとし)
"first past", hatsu mukashi 初昔(はつむかし)

"the year of tonight", yoi no toshi宵の年(よいのとし)

past year, new year, kozo kotoshi 去年今年(こぞことし)

An interesting expression is the use of ROO, a word used in Buddhism to count the years of a person living in a monastery.
old monastic year, kyuuroo,旧臘(きゅうろう)

kigo for late winter

watakushidai 私大 (わたくしだい) first day of the new year
now second day, according to tratition in Akita and Aomori.

Hatsugane, 初鐘、the first ringing of the temple bell, is also called "Joya no Kane" 除夜の鐘 and is rung 108 times whilst passing from the old to the new year.
. joya no kane 除夜の鐘 .
hyakuhachi no kane 百八の鐘(ひゃくはちのかね)
108 times ringing the bell

Worldwide use

Europe / Europa

It came as quite a surprise to see how different the *feelings* of the ends of seasons are in Japan, compared to the temperate countries of Europe that I know (Ireland, Belgium).

My impression is that, in Europe, while spring is a season full of hope and colour and life, it is so much loved because it is the precursor of summer, the high point of the year.

Subtle poets love spring and autumn because they are beautiful in a more subtle way -- but I am pretty sure that the average temperate European citizen loves summer best. Lamenting the passing of spring would not be a common occurrence, even among poets, I believe...

Read an interesting discussion
Isabelle Prondzynski

Things found on the way


Painting by Buson

行く春や 重たき琵琶 の だき心
yuku haru ya omotaki biwa no daki kokoro

spring is leaving -
thinking about carrying
a heavy biwa lute

. WKD : biwa 琵琶 lute .


yuku haru ya shunjun to shite oso zakura

la fin du printemps-
hésitantes, les dernières
fleurs de cerisier

Buson , Tr. nekojita

. Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 in Edo .


yuku haru ya tori naki uo no me wa namida

spring is leaving ..
birds sing and the eyes of fish
are full of tears

Matsuo Basho
(Tr. Gabi Greve)

tori ga naku is a normal expression for the birds singing. It is not really "cry".
This bird of spring is the hototogisu with his gentle warbling.

And what kind of fish is this? Maybe the sawara 鰆, Spanish mackerel, which has the character for SPRING 春 in its name?
Or shirauo, 白魚 the white fish, which is a delicacy of this region and was a favorite dish of Basho himself.
uo no me 魚の目, the "eye of a fish" is also an expression for a corn on the sole of the foot. Basho is maybe thinking about the long journey ahead and the many corns he has to tend to on the way.

Another theory about the crying fish:
It refers to the fishmonger Sugiyama Sanpu 杉山杉風, who had been a great (financial) patron of Basho in Edo.

Basho is at Senju 千住 in 1689, taking final leave from his friends.

. Sugiyama Sanpu 杉山杉風 (Sampu) .

. Oku no Hosomichi .
Narrow Road to the Deep North

yuku haru ya
tori naki
uo no me wa namida

spring is leaving ..
birds sing
tears in the eyes of (my friend called) Fish

fish is haiku shorthand, a kind of kakekotoba, for the nickname of his friend, the fish dealer.

Another poem where Basho uses an animal to allude to one of his haiku masters
. semi no koe - Sengin 蝉吟 (1642 - 1666) .

Basho is also alluding to Chinese poems:

Tu Fu "Spring View"

In grief for the times, I shed tears at the sight of flowers.
Resentful of parting, I brood over the cries of birds.

Tao Chien "Returning to Live in the Country"

A migrant bird longs for its native woods.
A fish in the pond recalls the mountain pond it came from.

Bashō and his interpreters
Makoto Ueda, Bashō Matsuo
source : books.google.co.jp

Discussion with Chen-ou Liu about the "Chinese background"
. Translating Haiku Forum .


spring with no tomorrow
she throws her wedding ring
off the pier

Bea, USA


Cool breeze through jersey
As I lament summer's end.
Leaves mirrored in shade.

natsu no hate, by Fritz


nari ni keri nari ni keri made toshi no kure

things just happen
things really just happen -
end of the year

Matsuo Basho, age 33

There is a poem by
. Nishiyama Sooin 西山宗因 Nishiyama Soin . :
(1605 - 1682)

toshi takete nari ni keri nari ni keri haru ni mata

the year comes to an end -
things just happen, really just happen
again in spring


lamenting autumn --
sake sips from lips
not my own

The memory of the first time I visited Japan is of scattered images from scenes flashing by the window on a Bullet Train. The trip is comfortable but long and we anticipated its end in early evening to check in and enjoy a late evening meal and drinks. Akita having some of the best sake in Japan (ask anyone from Akita).
I remember its subtle flavor in sips from a special sake cup wrapped in cherry tree
bark. The cup is unique to this region.

Chibi - simple_sigh_man

Handicraft from Cherry Tree Bark : 桜皮細工


winter is leaving -
my badger finally
opens his eyes

© Photo and Haiku Gabi Greve, 2005

Related words

***** Seasons beginning

***** The Asian Lunar Calendar. Reference

. . . . SPRING
the complete SAIJIKI

. . . . SUMMER
the complete SAIJIKI

. . . . AUTUMN
the complete SAIJIKI

. . . . WINTER
the complete SAIJIKI


Wakare - Parting with friends or seasons
. Matsuo Basho 松尾芭蕉 - Archives of the WKD .




Anonymous said...

autumn passing ...
on the dirt road
an old coin

Ella Wagemakers

Gabi Greve - Basho said...

yuku haru o Oomi no hito to oshimikeru

Matsuo Basho

The departing spring !
With the people of Omi
I missed it deeply.

Tr. Oseko

spring is departing-
with the people (friends) of Omi
I lament its passing 

Tr. Gabi Greve

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

- nagori 余波 - 余韻- 余風 - 余情
remains, memories, lingering -

in the poems of Matsuo Basho

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho -
hokku about

- toshi no kure 年の暮  end of the year -

Gabi Greve - Buson said...

Yosa Buson

teshoku shite niwa fumu hito ya haru oshimu

holding a candlestick
someone walks in the garden -
lamenting the passing of spring
Tr. Gabi Greve

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

haru oshimu Sanzen-in no chaya kana

lamenting spring
at the tea stall of
Sanzen-In . . .
Tr. Gabi Greve

Nomura Hakugetsu 野村泊月 ( 1882 - 1961)

The cut marker KANA is at the end of line 3.


Gabi Greve said...

yuku aki ya Kaga yuuzen no koburoshiki

autumn has come to an end -
this small Furoshiki wrapper
from Kaga Yuzen

Tr. Gabi Greve

新田美智子 Nitta Michiko

about Kaga Yuzen