Chestnut (kuri)

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Chestnut, sweet chestnut (kuri)

***** Location: Japan, other areas
***** Season: Late autumn
***** Category: Plant


sweet chestnut, the eatable nut type, kuri 栗 くり
Castanea sp., especially Castanea sativa
Do not mix this tree with the horse chestnut ! See below.

Marone, maron マロン
mountain chestnuts, yamaguri 山栗
chestnut plantation, chestnut forest, kuribayashi 栗林

chestnuts from the Tanba region, tanbaguri 丹波栗
..... deochiguri 出落栗(でおちぐり)
..... ochiguri 落栗(おちぐり)

igaguri 毬栗(いがぐり)chestnut in the burr
hitotsuguri 一ツ栗(ひとつぐり)one chestnut in the burr
mitsuguri 三ツ栗(みつぐり)three chestnuts in the burr
"smiling chestnut", emiguri 笑栗 (えみぐり)
It has been roasted in a fire and the burr opened now.

minashiguri 虚栗(みなしぐり)empty chestnut
Only a burr, with no fruit.
This was also the title of a haiku magazine in the Edo period.
see below

shibaguri 芝栗 しばぐり)small kind of chestnut
lit. "lawn chestnut"

kuriyama 栗山(くりやま)mountain with chestnut trees
kuribayashi 栗林(くりばやし)grove with chestnut trees

kachiguri tsukuru 搗栗作る(かちぐりつくる)
making dried chestnuts
..... uchiguri tsukuru 打栗作る(うちぐりつくる)
making sweets from dried chestnuts

Japanese are very fond of chestnuts and have a lot of special food preparations with them. Collecting chestnuts is a pastime for the young and old in these autumn days.
We collect them and roast them in the fire outside in the evening !

rice cooked with chestnuts, kurimeshi 栗飯
chestnut paste, kuri kinton 栗きんとん

sasaguri ささ栗(ささぐり)chestnut sweet from Gifu, Nakatsugawa town
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

chestnut jelly cake, kuri yookan 栗羊羹 くりようかん
..... kurimushi yookan 栗蒸し羊羹
chestnut paste buns, kuri manjuu 栗饅頭 (くりまんじゅう)

. kuri kanoko 栗鹿の子(くりかのこ) Kanoko sweet with chestnuts .

maron gurasse マロン=グラッセ marrons glaces sweet

yakiguri 焼栗 grilled, roasted chestnut
yudeguri ゆで栗(ゆでぐり)boiled chestnut

Gabi Greve

Click HERE to see more Japanese KURI chestnuts and food!

for WALNUT, see below.


Chestnuts (Castanea), including the chinkapins, are a genus of eight or nine species of trees and shrubs in the beech family Fagaceae, native to warm temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere. The name also refers to the edible nuts produced by these trees. Most are large trees to 20-40 m tall, but some species (the chinkapins) are smaller, often shrubby. All are deciduous.

The leaves are simple, ovate or lanceolate, 10-30 cm long and 4-10 cm broad, with sharply pointed, widely-spaced teeth, with shallow rounded sinuses between.

The flowers are catkins, produced in mid summer; they have a heavy, unpleasant odour (Bean 1970). The fruit is a spiny cupule 5-11 cm diameter, containing one to seven nuts. Chestnut trees thrive on acidic soils, such as soils derived from granite or schist, and do not grow well on alkaline soils such as limestone. When wanting to grow chestnut trees on such soils, the practice was to graft them onto oak rootstocks.

Neither the horse chestnut (family Sapindaceae) nor the water chestnut (family Cyperaceae) is closely related to the chestnut, though both are so named for producing similar nuts.

The nuts are an important food crop in southern Europe, southwestern and eastern Asia, and also in eastern North America before the chestnut blight. In southern Europe in the Middle Ages, whole forest-dwelling communities which had scarce access to wheat flour relied on chestnuts as their main source of carbohydrates.

The nuts can be eaten candied, boiled or roasted; the former are often sold under the French name marrons glacés. One easy method for roasting is to cut a slit in the top of each nut and heat in a shallow container, tossing occasionally, at 200-220 °C for 10-15 minutes.
Another important use of chestnuts is to be ground into flour, which can then be used to prepare bread, cakes and pasta.
Chestnut-based recipes and preparations are making a comeback in Italian cuisine, as part of the trend toward rediscovery of traditional dishes.

Other products
The wood is similar to oak wood in being decorative and very durable. Due to disease, American Chestnut wood has almost disappeared from the market. It is difficult to obtain large size timber from the Sweet Chestnut, due to the high degree of splitting and warping when it dries. The wood of the Sweet Chestnut is most used in small items where durability is important, such as fencing and wooden outdoor cladding ('shingles') for buildings. In Italy, it is also used to make barrels used for aging balsamic vinegar.

© Wikipedia

Worldwide use


Esskastanie, Eßkastanien

Things found on the way

minashiguri 虚栗(みなしぐり)empty chestnut
Only a burr, with no fruit.
This was the title of a haiku book in the Edo period.

Minashiguri "Shriveled Chestnuts"
A Shriveled Chestnut. Empty Chestnuts
anthology of poems by Basho and his students, 1683

and later
Zoku Minashiguri = Sequel to "Empty Chestnuts".


17 Chestnut haiku by Kobayashi Issa
Tr. David Lanoue

kuri ochite hitotsu hitotsu ni yo no fukeru

chestnuts dropping
one by one...
the night deepens

mushi kui ga ichiban kuri zo ichiban zo

the best chestnut!
the best!

yamadera ya tatami no ue no kuri hiroi

mountain temple--
on tatami mats, gathering

kasa no ochi kuri torare keri ato no hito

chestnuts bounced off
the umbrella-hat gathered...
by the person behind

shibaguri ya uma no bari shite utsukushiki

little chestnuts
pissed on by the horse...
shiny new


source : yutyan

yuku aki ya te o hirogetaru kuri no mari (iga)

autumn is leaving . . .
the sweet chestnut burr
opens its hands

Matsuo Basho
Genroku 7, Basho at age 51.

This was written on his last visit to Iga and ment as a "good bye" to his disciples in Iga.
The KIGO is used to express the feeling of leaving good friends.

- - - - - and another one from 1691 元禄4年秋

aki kaze no fukedomo aoshi kuri no iga

the autumn wind blows
and yet they are green,
these chestnut burrs

Tr. Gabi Greve

- The Later Harvest Moon -
written on the 13th day of the 9th lunar month in 1680 延宝8年9月13日. Basho age 37.

yoru hisoka ni mushi wa gekka no kuri o ugatsu

night . . . silently
in the moonlight, a worm
digs into a chestnut

Tr. Ueda
- Comments are here :
source : books.google.co.jp

Nachts ... heimlich
im Mondlicht, ein Wurm
durchbohrt eine Kastanie

Auch dieser Vers birgt Unerwartetes und kann insofern noch als typisch für den Danrin-Stil angesehen werden.
Der Wurm in der Kastanie - von Udo Wenzel
source : www.haiku-heute.de

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


CLICK for more photos

chookei wa nisai no hotoke kuri gohan

my older brother
died when he was two -
rice with sweet chestnuts

Narita Senkuu 成田千空 (1921 - 2007, March 31)
Senku Narita

Related words

***** flower of the chestnut, kuri no hana 栗の花
tsuyuri 栗花落‐(つゆり) - chestnut tree flowers
(falling down to indicate the beginning of the rainy season) 梅雨入り tsuyu iri
kigo for early summer

..... hanaguri 花栗
chestnuts flowering, kuri saku 栗咲く

yo no hito no mitsukenu hana ya noki no kuri

people of the world
don't discern this blossom -
chestnut by the eaves

Tr. Barnhill

the men of this world
notice not its blossoms -
chestnut by the eaves

Tr. Carley

at the eaves—
blossoms undiscovered
by people of the world

Tr. Shirane

few in this world
notice those blossoms--
chestnut by the eaves

Tr. Ueda

The chestnut by the eaves
In magnificient bloom
Passes unnoticed
By men of the world.

Tr. Yuasa
. Oku no Hosomichi - Station 11 - Sukagawa .

Written in 1689 元禄二年, Basho age 46
Written at a kasen composition in Sukagawa 須賀川, with priest Kashin 僧侶可伸.
Basho praises the simple life of this holy man in his greeting hokku.

The Chinese character for kuri 栗 consists of the parts for West 西 above a Tree 木. It reminds us of the four Buddhist paradises in the four directions. Like Saint Gyoki Bosatsu, who used a walking stick of the wood of this tree and had the pillars of his hut made of it.

This hokku has the cut marker YA at the end of line 2.

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

. Gyoki Bosatsu (Gyooki Bosatsu) 行基菩薩 Gyogi Bosatsu.

(The CHESTNUT of this translation refers to the sweet chestnut tree, kuri.)

source : itoyo/basho

隠者可伸と栗の木 Kashin and the Chestnut Tree
Yosa Buson painted this scene.


***** Horse Chestnut (tochi) Aesculus hippocastanum
Rosskastanie. In German, the beautiful blossoms are sometimes called "Candles".


***** Water chestnut 菱 (hishi) Trapa japonica

hishi no hana 菱の花 (ひしのはな ) flowers of water chestnut
kigo for mid-summer

hishi no mi 菱の実 (ひしのみ) nuts of the water chestnut
kigo for early autumn

hishi momiji 菱紅葉(ひしもみじ) red leaves of water chestnuts
mizukusa momiji 水草紅葉 (みずくさもみじ) red leaves of water plants
..... ukikusa momiji 萍紅葉(うきくさもみじ)red leaves of floating plants
kigo for late autumn

hishi toru 菱取る (ひしとる) collecting water chestnuts
kigo for all autumn

. . . . . hishitori 菱採り(ひしとり)
. . . . . hishi no mi toru 菱の実取る(ひしのみとる)
hishibune 菱舟(ひしぶね)ship to collect water chestnuts
yudebishi 茹菱(ゆでびし) boiled water chestnuts

. . . CLICK here for Photos !

Sweets from Water Chestnuts, Fukuoka ひしのお菓子 hishi no okashi


*****(Hazelnut (hashibami ハシバミ)


***** Walnut, kurumi 胡桃 くるみ
kigo for late autumn

Juglans regia

"princess walnut", hime gurumi 姫胡桃ヒメグルミ
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

"demon walnut", oni gurumi 鬼胡桃 オニグルミ

. . . CLICK here for Photos !
wild walnuts, no kurumi 野胡桃

cracking walnuts, kurumi waru 胡桃割る

The ingenious wild walnuts from Japan (hime and oni) are much smaller than the American varieties which have been introduced later. Nagano is now famous for these walnut plantations and walnut dishes. dumplings with walnut paste and goheimochi.
Dishes with walnuts

a sound of a walnut
rolling over the roof
falls into silence

Tomislav Maretic (HR)

Walnut Daruma (kurumi Daruma 胡桃だるま)


kigo for late summer

aokurumi, ao kurumi 青胡桃 (あおくるみ) green walnut
namakurumi 生胡桃(なまくるみ)raw walnut


kigo for early summer

kurumi no hana 胡桃の花 (くるみのはな)
walnut flowers


***** AUTUMN . . . PLANTS -

Dishes with chestnuts
WASHOKU ... Japanese Food SAIJIKI



Gabi Greve said...

We have many hickory nuts. I do not think Japan has them. It would
be a regional kigo for the USA, I think, autumn.

the rattle sound
from a hickory nut's roll --
empty mailbox

"chibi" (pen-name for Dennis M. Holmes) "chibi" (pen-name for Dennis M. Holmes)

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...


yoru hisokani / mushi wa gekka no / kuri o ugatsu

Matsuo Basho

Gabi Greve - WKD said...

kurimeshi ya Meguro no chaya no hokku-kai (発句会)

rice with chestnuts -
the hokku meeting at the tea shop
in Meguro

. Masaoka Shiki 正岡子規 .

MORE about Meguro

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

kuri no hana koborete iru ya Isaniwaya

sweet chestnuts
in full bloom -
Isaniwa Shrine

. Kawahigashi Hekigotoo 河東碧梧桐 Hekigoto, Hekigodo .

Isaniwa Shrine in Matsuyama

Gabi Greve said...

Sasaguri 篠栗四国八十八箇所 88 Henro Temples
Sasaguri Shikoku Hachijuuhachi kasho (ささぐりしこくはちじゅうはちかしょ)
篠栗霊場 Sasaguri reijo


Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Fukushima

Hime no Gozen Yama 姫の御前山 /姫御前山
at "the Mountain of the Princess" there lives a Tengu.
He frightens people with loud noises. Once a woman went to the mountain to collect sweet chestnuts, but was frightened away.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Gifu
大野郡 Ono district 清見村 Kiyomi village

hebi 蛇 serpent
A girl had been taking a nap under a kurinoki 栗の木 sweet chestnut tree, when at night she suddenly begun to blacken her teeth and behaved quite strange.
Her grandmother thought she must have been seen by a serpent which wanted a bride. She gave her a drink that would melt away the black of the teeth and soon the girl became quiet again.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Akita
秋田市 Akita city .....

kuri no ki 栗の木 sweet chestnut tree
Deep in the mountain forest is a huge sweet chestnut tree, where Yamanokami is venerated. Even if cut down it will soon be up again.
Once a man named 弥兵衛 Yahei tried to cut this tree down, but blood came sprouting from the tree and a boy of 5 years came out. The child had a strange figure and looked very angry, picking up Yahei and throwing him on the ground, telling him never to cut this tree again.

Gabi Greve said...

Legend from Shiga
Once a man went up to the mountain to gather chestnuts.
He picked up some chestnuts near the hole of a fox, so the fox bewitched him.
The farmer took some rice cakes and herring to apologize and soon
he got well again.