Straw (wara)


Straw (wara)

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


Straw is used for many things in Japan.

wayside shrine made from straw

Here let us look at the kigo.

We have straw from wheat (wara) and rice plants.


kigo for spring

observance kigo for early spring

warauma hiki, wara-uma hiki 藁馬曳き (わらうまひき)
leading a straw horse

In Tozawa, Nagano 戸沢のわら馬曳き
Straw horses mounted on sledges with wheels are pulled down from the mountains in the west, to pray at the wayside deities (doosojin) for protection from fire and other accidents and for good health in the coming year.
On February 8, the day of "koto hajime".

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Book about the festivals of Shinshu (Nagano) in the 12 months. The title shows the straw horse festival.

. Doosojin 道祖神 the Wayside Gods


all spring

suwara suzume 巣藁雀(すわらすずめ)
sparrow nest made of straw


kigo for summer

early summer

mugiwara 麦藁 (むぎわら) straw from wheat
... 麦稈(むぎわら)

mugiwarabue, mugiwara bue 麦藁笛(むぎわらぶえ)
flute from straw
... 麦稈笛(むぎわらぶえ)


makiwarabune 巻藁船(まきわらぶね)ship to transport straw bundles
(during the Atsuta festival 熱田祭 (あつたまつり))

mugiwara kago 麦藁籠 (むぎわらかご) straw basket
... 麦稈籠(むぎわらかご)

mugiwara haze 麦藁鯊 (むぎわらはぜ) "straw goby" fish
goby caught in autumn

mugiwara dai 麦藁鯛 (むぎわらだい) "straw sea bream"
caught in autumn, after laying eggs
... waradai, wara-dai 麦鯛

mugiwara dako 麦藁章魚 むぎわらだこ "octopus during straw season"
... mugiwaradako 麦藁蛸(むぎわらだこ)


kigo for late autumn

shinwara, shin wara 新藁 (しんわら) new straw
kotoshi wara 今年藁(ことしわら) straw of this year

warazuka 藁塚 (わらづか) mound of straw
. . . nio にお、wara nio 藁にお(わらにお)、waraguru 藁ぐろ(わらぐろ)
warako zumi 藁こづみ(わらこづみ)

tawara ami 俵網 (たわらあみ) making straw bags

wara kinuta 藁砧(わらきぬた)mallet for pounding straw
Fulling block (kinuta)

mugiwara tonbo 麦藁蜻蛉(むぎわらとんぼ)"wheat straw" dragonfly
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kigo for winter

wara shigoto 藁仕事 (わらしごと) working with straw

wara utsu 藁打つ(わらうつ)hitting straw
with a wooden mallet, to make it softer

nawa nau 縄綯う(なわなう)making a rope
tawara amu 俵編む(たわらあむ)making straw bags
(also in late autumn)

mushiro oru 筵織る(むしろおる)weavint straw mats
Mushiro for summer

waragutsu amu 藁沓編む(わらぐつあむ)weaving straw boots
waragutsu 藁沓(わらぐつ)straw shoes for winter

kamasu oru 叺織る(かますおる)weaving a straw bag
Straw bag (kamasu) topic for haiku


kigo for the New Year

fukuwara 福藁 (ふくわら) straw for good luck
fukuwara shiku 福藁敷く(ふくわらしく)
fukusa wara ふくさ藁(ふくさわら)
New straw that is placed at the entrance and in the garden of a mansion. It serves to purify the place for the coming year and is a gesture of respect for the visitors on the New Year.

kazariwara, kazari-wara 飾藁(かざりわら)straw for decorations
especially shimenawa ropes
Shimenawa 注連縄

wara gooshi 藁盒子 (わらごうし) small straw container with a lid
... saiwai kago 幸籠(さいわいかご)"good luck basket"

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

aramakizake 新巻鮭(あらまきざけ)one whole salmon perserved in straw after marinating in vinegar.

salmon food


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warazaiku 藁細工 things made of straw
straw works, straw crafts

Winter was the time for the farmers to make many useful things of straw in the olden times. Each villag had its specialist and the housewifes learned from him and made many things themselves. Toys for the children were also made of straw.

o-mikiguchi おみきぐち / 神酒口
decorations for sake bottles as offerings for the New Year


. Wara ningyoo 藁人形 straw dolls for curses .


shinwara no desomete hayaki shigure kana

The new rice-straw
Is coming out, but already
The wintry shower is starting.

Tr. Oseko

Written in 元禄7年, Basho age 51, at Iga Ueno, at the home of Izen.

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

. Basho at the home of Kubota Izen 窪田意専 .

Winter season is coming soon. Autumn wind is blowing, the fields that harvest is over, there is a landscape to feel lonely. In places, are stacked straw. In Japan, this is very important straw.
Straw, to make various things, he was using. Autumn landscape and lonely, in this clause, Basho's view of nature are expressed.
Sweet, representing the leaves of ginkgo had come down on top of the straw.
source : kikyou0123
haika 俳菓 Haiku Sweets


fukuwara ya gomi sae kesa no utsukushiki

new auspicious straw -
this morning even the dirt
looks beautiful

Chiyo-Ni (Chiyoni), Kaga no Chiyo jo (1703-1775)
(tr. Gabi Greve)


The giant straw sculptures of Japan

straw sculptures of the Wara Art Festival in Niigata Prefecture

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Look at more photos:
- source : en.rocketnews24.com

Related words

***** Bagworm (minomushi - "straw raincoat bug") Japan. Case moth, basketworm

***** Geta, wooden Japanses sandals Japan. Straw sandals (zoori)

***** Hat, Straw hat, hood (kasa, zukin, booshi) Japan Worldwide

***** Sandeel: KAMASU : straw back, tobacco pouch, Pacific sandeel (Ammodytes personatus) Japan

***** Strawberries Cranberries

***** Straw mats (thick: tatami. thin: goza) Japan

Observances in Spring

. mugiwarazaiku 麦わら細工 handicraft from wheat straw .



Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

shin wara no / de somete hayaki / shigure kana

Matsuo Basho


Gabi Greve - LINK said...

元禄7年 51歳の句
Basho age 51

The new rice-straw
Is coming out, but already
The wintry shower is starting.

“Translated by TOSHIHARU OSEKO”

with a haika 俳菓 haiku sweet

Gabi Greve said...

Tsuruoka mingei 鶴岡民芸 folk art from Tsuruoka
Tsurugaoka 鶴が岡 - Shōnai 庄内地方 Shōnai district

warazaiku 藁細工/ わら細工 straw craft

Initiated in 1985 by the 藁細工研究会 Association to foster Straw Craft to keep some old traditions alive.
The rice straw is taken from Sasanishiki rice, grown without chemicals.
It is bound together in many traditional ways called 綯(な)う、縒(よ)る、編む、束ねる、結ぶ.
The main articles are しめ縄、わら莚(むしろ)、雪靴、草鞋(わらじ)、バンドリ(背負い作業の背当)、ベンケイ(保存用の串刺し).

Gabi Greve said...

A legend from Iwate 岩手県
A man was waiting for customers at watashibune 渡し舟 the ferry station.
A craftsman making things of straw came along, but he was afraid of fire.
Maybe the spirit of a fox had taken posession of him in the mountain forest.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Kochi 中村市 Nakamura city // devil 魔神
meshi o kuwan kaka 飯を食わん嬶 a wife that did not eat rice
A greedy man got a wife that did not eat any rice. He thought that was strange, hid in the straw and observed her.
At lunchtime he saw her cook a large portion of rice and eat it with two mouths at her head.
That day when the man was in the bath, the wife took the bath tub and carried it deep into the mountain. The husband got hold of a branch and jumped out of the tub.
Now he saw that a devil had shape-shifted into a kumo クモ spider and would come back in the evening.
That evening he made a fire in the stove and when he saw the spider coming down, he burned it.