Coolness (suzushi)


Coolness (suzushi)

***** Location: Japan, other areas
***** Season: All Summer
***** Category: Season


In Summer 2006, NHK broadcasted a program on the subject of
"Finding coolness (ryoo o mitsukeru 涼を見つける)"
in the tea ceremony during summer. The head of the Urasenke Tea Ceremony, Sen Soshitsu (Sen Sooshitsu)  裏千家の家元、千宗室,    talked about ways to stage the coolness, for example using a large fresh green leaf as cover of the water container (habuta 葉蓋) or wringing the little linen cleansing cloth in a way it produces the fresh sound of clear water (arai jakin 洗い茶巾). The intention is to create an aesthetically cool feeling, not to physically cool anything.

Using fresh water from one of the many famous wells in Kyoto (meisuidate 名水点) was also enjoyed in summer. After a sip of clear cool water, thick tea (koicha 濃茶) was served to the guests. The water from the well was carried to the tea house in a special square cedar box (tsurube mizusashi つるべ水差し), purified by a rope with white Shinto paper strips (shimenawa 注連縄).

During the old times without airconditioning, people had to live with the seasons as they where and try to enjoy them as best as they could.

Choosing a tea cake with a name to provoke coolness is also important. Most of them have a transparent look and are served on a light dish, often made from glas to also evoke a feeling of LIGHT when you pick it up.
For example, "water peony", mizubotan 水牡丹, made from red bean paste and kuzu starch.
. . . CLICK here for Photos !

There are many kigo evoking the coolness during the hot summer of Japan. Let us examine some of them. In Autumn, when it gets really cool, there are other kigo with the word "coolness" to express this feeling, see below.

Gabi Greve, Summer 2006


coolness, suzushisa 涼しさ
..... ryooki 涼気、すずしい、涼しい
"taste of coolness" ryoomi 涼味

forgetting the summer heat, natsu no hoka 夏のほか
..... natsu no yoso 夏のよそ

coolness in the morning, morning cool, asasuzu 朝涼
cool evening, yoisuzushi 宵すずし
cool at day's end, banryoo, banryō 晩涼
evening cool, yuusuzu, yūsuzu 夕涼
night cool, cool of the night, yaryoo 夜涼, ryooya 涼夜

a bit of coolness, biryoo 微涼

refreshing breeze, cool breeze, suzukaze 涼風
..... ryoofuu ryōfū 涼風

cool rain, ryoou ryoo u 涼雨
cool water, mizu suzushi 水涼し
cool dew, tsuyu suzushi 露涼い
cool moon, tsuki suzushi 月涼い

coolness in the garden, niwa suzushi 庭涼い
cool light of a stone lantern
..... hi suzushi 燈涼い
cool shadow, kage suzushi 影涼い
cool sound of a bell, kane suzushi 鐘涼い

natsu no tsuki 夏の月 moon in summer, summer moon
It refers to a cool evening (tsuki suzushi 月涼し).
It has been the subject of many poems since old times, when people enjoyed the full moon on a cool summer night.


humanity kigo for late summer

CLICK for more photos

hanagoori 花氷 (はなごおり) "ice flowers"
kooribashira 氷柱(こおりばしら) ice pillar

Flowers of the season are put in a cube of ice or an ice pillar and then decorated on the table to stage the feeling of "coolness" at the tea ceremony or expensive restaurants.


suzumi 納涼 (すずみ) to enjoy a cool breeze
..... 、涼む(すずむ)
Mostly in the evening of a hot summer day.

suzumidai 涼み台(すずみだい)veranda to enjoy a cool breeze
They are sometimes erected above or near a river and you can eat and drink there.

kadosuzumi 門涼み(かどすずみ)enjoy a cool breeze at the gate
hashi suzumi 橋涼み(はしすずみ)enjoy a cool breeze on the bridge
ensuzumi 縁涼み(えんすずみ)enjoy a cool breeze at the home veranda (engawa)
dote suzumi 土手涼み(どてすずみ)enjoy a cool breeze at the riverbank
iso suzumi 磯涼み(いそすずみ)enjoy a cool breeze on the beach

suzumibune 納涼舟(すずみぶね)boat to enjoy a cool evening breeze . . . CLICK here for Photos !

yuusuzumi 夕涼み(ゆうすずみ)enjoy a cool evening breeze
..... yoi suzumi 宵涼み(よいすずみ)
yosuzumi 夜涼み(よすずみ)enjoy a cool night breeze

sommerliche Abendkühle

CLICK for more photos
kawayuka 川床(かわゆか)riverbed veranda
also called kawadoko, dining decks on the river Kamogawa in Shijoo, Kyoto.
kawara no suzumi 河原の納涼 (かわらのすずみ) coolnes on the riverbed
Shijoogawara no suzumi 四条河原の納涼(しじょうがわらのすずみ)coolnes on the riverbed in Shijoo, Kyoto
.....Shijoo suzumi 四条涼み(しじょうすずみ)
yuka 床(ゆか)riverbed veranda
yuka suzumi 床涼み(ゆかすずみ)
suzumiyuka 納涼床(すずみゆか)

kawadoko ryoori 川床料理
food served on a riverbed veranda
In Kyoto, near shrine Kibune Jinja (Kifune Junja) 貴船神社 served in the forest restaurants along the clean river.

. Kifune Shrine Festivals and Haiku .

Kigo for Summer


Wind Chimes (fuurin) 風鈴.
Another device to make us feel cool.
Their sound is making us feel a cool breeze.

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

Greetings from SEN Soshitsu XVI

The 20th century will go down in history as having been a century of war, as well as a century of momentous scientific developments. I believe that the 21st century should be made into a century distinguished by mankind's care for the global environment, as well as by the importance people place on culture.

The Urasenke Homepage contains a wealth of information for those who seek knowledge about the various aspects of chado. I sincerely hope that each visitor will find something of value in this internet site, and that the ethos of chado, the value it places on pure-hearted interchange between fellow human beings, is conveyed.
© Urasenke Homepage

Interview with Sen Soshitsu (Sen Sooshitsu)  

"Chanoyu: an Anthropological Approach to Tea,"
Jennifer Anderson


miya suzushi baba wa kami o katari-ori

coolness in the shrine -
an old woman
talks about God

Kuehle im Schrein -
ein altes Weib
redet von Gott

Gabi Greve


Kobayashi Issa has more than 50 haiku about the coolness.

suzushisa wa sugu ni kamiyo no kodachi kana

straight from the holy grove
it comes

tachi suzumi ne suzumi sate mo suzushisa ya

cooling off standing
cooling lying down...
well, it's cool!

Tr. David Lanoue  


- - - - - Yosa Buson - - - - -

. suzushisa ya kane o hanaruru kane no koe .
the sound of the bell

suzushisa ya kashikoki hito no kachi watari

How cool!
A nobleman
Wades a stream.

"Kashikoki hito" is a man of high rank, or a nobleman. "Kachi watari" is to wade a stream.
Tr. Shoji Kumano

suzushisa ya miyako o tatsu ni nagaregawa

Through the capital from the north
A river flowing.

Tr. Nelson/Saito

waga kage o asase ni fumite suzumi kana

Stepping on my shadow
In the shallows
The refreshing cool I enjoy.

Tr. Nelson/Saito

My own shadow
trodden on in the shallows--
cooling off.

Tr. Sawa/ Shiffert

. Yosa Buson 与謝蕪村 in Edo .


tsuki suzushi tesso suke-te sanga ari

Brisk moon—
through the window’s iron bars
mountains and rivers.

Itaru Ina
Tr.by Hisako Ifshin and Leza Lowitz   

Related words

***** Taking the cool night air,
yuusuzumi 夕涼み

kigo for summer
CLICK for more photos

This shows the strong feeling of changing of seasons, everyone longing for autumn to come soon and trying to find a bit of cool in the evening (in the days before air conditioning, of course!)
Kindergardens and other clubs often have a summer festival in the evening called yuuzuzumi.

. uri tsukuru kimi ga are na to yuusuzumi .

You, who raised melons--
if only you were here too,
taking the night air

--Basho [1687]

Tr. by Carter
"Traditional Japanese Poetry:An Anthology"

In Carter's book, in addition to the haiku "You, who raised melons," Carter gives another haiku by Basho on the same topic, with a haibun headnote, presumably by Basho:

"Taking the Night Air at Fourth Avenue, Riverside" *

*The east end of Fourth Avenue, on the banks of the Kamo River [Kyoto]

"They call it 'taking the night air at Fourth Avenue, Riverside': people lining up their stands in the riverbed from moonrise early in the Sixth Month, on until the dawn moon of mid-month--drinking sake the night long, eating, and partying. The women bind themselves with the showiest sashes; the men deck themselves out in long jackets.
And there in the throng are priests and old people too--and even apprentices to coopers and smiths, all looking smug and at ease, singing and reveling. Now, that's life in the capital! "

kawakaze ya usugaki kitaru yuusuzumi

Ah, the river wind--
in robes of persimmon color,
taking the night air.

- - - - -

River breezes -
Dressed in light persimmon
Pleasant evening cool.

Tr. Saito / Nelson

Written in 元禄3年6月, Basho age 47.

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

source : itoyo/basho

. . . CLICK here for Photos of usugaki kimono colors !

. Matsuo Basho in Kyoto .
Cooling off by the river at Shijo - Jeff Robbins -


. Coolness in autumn
aki suzushi 秋涼い

first coolness, shinryoo 新涼
..... hatsu ryoo 初涼 "first cool"
..... arata ni suzushi 新たに涼い cool again
..... shuuryoo 秋涼(しゅうりょう)coolness in autumn
sooryoo 爽涼(そうりょう) pleasant coolness
kigo for early autumn

***** WKD : Tea Ceremony Saijiki 茶道の歳時記


***** Cool month, ryoogetsu 涼月(りょうげつ)
kigo for early autumn
The seventh month of the asian lunar calendar. (Now August).


Wagashi ... Sweets SAIJIKI



Unknown said...


sleep in Temple
dream Pure Land


Gabi Greve said...

tea ceremony -
the sound of wind blown pines
in a painting

adapted from
Sen Sotan
Third-Generation Grand Tea Master (1578-1658)

Tea Ceremony and Haiku    

Gabi Greve, September 2006


Anonymous said...

with a fan beckoning
the precious rain

suzushisa ya oogi de maneku senryoo ame


by Issa

This haiku does not appear in the authoritative collection of Issa, Issa zenshuu. I found it in Issa to kuhi (Tokyo: Kankohkai 2003) 53.
It appears engraved in a haiku stone. Senryoo represents a highly valued thing, literally, something that costs one thousand ryoo, a coin of Old Japan.

I was tempted to translate, senryoo ame, "million-dollar rain," but decided that this sounds a bit too modern. I went with "precious," but Issa's original is more hyperbolical, more specific.

Tr. David Lanoue

Anonymous said...

matsu kobu de kata tataki tsutsu yuusuzumi

massaging my back
with the pine tree's gnarl...
evening cool

Tr. David Lanoue

Unknown said...

Gabi san
季節がら、coolness 涼しさやを取り上げて頂き有難うございます。


Anonymous said...

tachi suzumi ne suzumi sate mo suzushisa ya

cooling off standing
cooling lying down...
well, it's cool!

Kobayashi Issa, 1816
Tr. David Lanoue

Anonymous said...

Forever in your dept, dear Gabi sama.

Gabi Greve - Haguroyama said...

suzushisa ya hono mikazuki no Haguroyama

the coolness -
faintly the crescent moon
above Mount Haguro

Matsuo Basho
Tr. Makoto Ueda

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

inochi nari wazuka no kasa no shita suzumi

Oh, life!
The tiny pool of cool
Beneath my travelling hat.

Tr. Tito
Basho and his travelling hat :

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho - special

- suzumi 納涼 to enjoy a cool breeze in summer -

Gabi Greve - Basho archives said...

Matsuo Basho

Atsumiyama ya Fukuura kakete yuusuzumi
Atsumi-yama ya Fuku-Ura kakete yuu-suzumi

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa

kado no yo ya suzushii sora mo ima sukoshi

by the gate tonight
not yet even a sign
of cooler weather

This summer hokku is from 6/12 (July 13) in 1810, when Issa was living in Edo. The date indicates that the rainy season has recently ended and what is usually the hottest part of the summer has now arrived. This is what Issa's diary for 1810 also indicates. On this night Issa stayed at the house of his fellow haijin Sakurai Shou-u (蕉雨), so he must be standing outside the door of the house or perhaps near the gate, if the house is set back and has a gate by the street, in order to catch a little cool air. It looks and feels as if tomorrow will be another equally hot, humid day, and the hokku seems to express acceptance of the fact that the "dog days" of summer are here to stay for a while.

The best way to beat the heat for Issa was apparently travel. The next day he and Shou-u went on a short boat trip east of Edo, enjoying the morning cool on a river. They eventually reached the Tone River, where temperatures must have been a little more bearable.

Chris Drake

Gabi - paulownia leaf said...

Kobayashi Issa

suzushisa no taranu tokoro e hito ha kana

into a place
lacking coolness
a paulownia leaf

Tr. Chris Drake

Gabi Greve - Darumapedia said...

Edo no taki 江戸の滝 waterfalls in Edo

People came here in summer to feel the cool, have a snack and relax.
This was called taki ami 滝浴み.

Gabi Greve said...

suzushisa wa suzu no iro nari mizu chawan

the coolness comes
from the pewter color -
my water bowl

Itoo Shintoku 伊藤信徳 Ito Shintoku (1633 - 1698)
Known to Matsuo Basho