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Soka Matsubara International Haiku Competition Guidelines


What is the Oku-no- hosomichi Soka Matsubara International Haiku Competition?

Soka City is a historical post town which Matsuo-Basho visited at the beginning of the journey of “The Narrow road to Oku (Oku-no- hosomichi) ” and left the words “Finally, we arrived at the post town called Soka that day.” In Soka City, we wish to honor the connection between the tradition and the literature of Oku-no- hosomichi, by holding an international haiku competition commemorating 330 years since the poet’s departure.

This haiku competition aims to promote and encourage the traditional arts, Japanese culture and the vibrancy of our city. And it was designated as a national scenic spot in 2014. In order to spread awareness of Soka Matsubara and the pine-road scenery to the world, we are holding an international haiku competition that invites works from all over the world.

There are two main categories: Japanese haiku and foreign-language haiku. Japanese haiku has a 'general category' and an 'elementary, middle and high school student category', and foreign-language haiku has an 'English category' and a ‘French category'. In addition to free compositions, works that incorporate “pine”, or “pine grove” as theme words or expressions are also invited.


What is Soka Matsubara, a national scenic beauty spot of the Oku-no- hosomichi?

There is an historical legacy that pine trees were planted in Soka Matsubara, either at at the time of the opening of Soka-shuku (the post town) in 1630, or when the Ayase River was renovated in 1683.

After a long period of time, the number of pine trees was reduced to about 60 by the exhaust gas and vibration of automobiles in the 1970's, but in 1975 the city volunteers planted about 100 pines. The following year, the Preservation Society for the pine grove was established with the participation of 800 people from 35 organizations in the city.

After that, the care of old trees and the transplanting of young trees continued, and the number recovered to rows of more than 550 pine trees.

The planting has continued, and now the area is popular with many people as a scenic spot in the city, with some 634 pines.

On March 18, 2014, Soka Matsubara was designated as a national scenic beauty spot, as one of the 13 scenic spots in 10 prefectures related to Oku-no- hosomichi.

Application Guidelines


  • free phrases
  • Theme phrases (“pine”or“pine grove”)


  • Japanese haiku [general category; elementary, middle and high school student category]
  • Foreign language haiku [English category, French category]


Foreign language haiku can only be submitted via the Homepage.


Foreign language haiku, English and French categories are free.


  • Soka Mayor's Award (4 verses, 1 from each section)
  • Oku-no- hosomichi Soka Matsubara Award (3 verses from each category theme, 12 in total)
  • Oku-no- hosomichi 330th Year Anniversary Award (limited number from each category as a special prize)
  • Other selections among the winners, excellent works, etc.

Awarded prizes and souvenirs will be given for these works.

Application period

October 1 (Tuesday) to November 30 (Saturday)

[Contest results

About mid-February, 2020.

(The award ceremony will be held around May 2)


1-1-1 Takasago, Soka City, Saitama Prefecture 340-8550

Soka City Hall Culture and Tourism Division, International Haiku Competition.

電話番号: 048-922-2968 FAX: 048-922-3406

E-mail :