Japanese saijiki are indispensable references for haiku writers. These dictionaries contain lists of kigo (seasonal words) with examples of haiku that use each kigo. Saijiki are divided into five parts (for each of the four seasons plus the additional season of New Year) and then further sectioned into categories (e.g. heavens, earth, humanity, animals, plants, etc.). The use of kigo injects symbolism, emotion and tone into haiku. As seasonal concepts and plant and animal species differ according to region, saijiki and kiyose (lists without example haiku) can vary. Of particular note are the below links to the ‘Alaska Haiku Society Saijiki’ and ‘Southern California Season Words’.

In keeping with our current call for haiku submissions, and in light of the fact that February celebrates the haiku art form with NaHaiWriMo (write a haiku a day throughout February – the shortest poetry form for the shortest month of the year – more info here) we thought it would be a bit of inspirational fun to post a kigo a day. So stay tuned as our modest list of seasonal words grows, look through the following links, get inspired and send us your haiku submissions!


Links to online saijiki and  further reading:

  1. Season Words
  2. World Kigo Database (WKD)
  3. The Five Hundred Essential Japanese Season Words.
  4. A Dictionary of Haiku Classified by Season Words with Traditional and Modern Methods by Jane Reichhold
  5. UVa Library Etext Center: Japanese Text Initiative.
  6. Alaska Haiku Society Saijiki
  7. Southern California Season Words.
  8. Astronomical Saijiki
  9. EDO TOKYO – Digital Museum| Saijiki: compendium of seasonal words and events of Edo
  10. MH Essay—Non-Season kigo by Richard Gilbert.
  11. In the moonlight a worm… (Haiku Reference Section).



Fancy sending your haiku our way?

Check out the current call for submissions.

Deadline: 13 June 2014



A Kigo a day…for month of April (to inspire summer issue of Kigo: Seasonal Words)


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