How Do You Haiku? #5 Saijiki (Season Word Dictionary)

Welcome to the fifth installment of our seven-post series on Haiku! Last week we created kuhi (poem stones)! Today, we’ll make a season word dictionary from the easy form I’ve created.

first things first: what is haiku

old pond—
frog jumps in
sound of the water

This short poem is a haiku. It is Japanese poet Matsuo Basho’s famous poem from the 1600s. These three lines tell us something about nature (and season) and capture a moment in time. When you capture a scene in this way, it’s called a “haiku moment” —it’s like a snapshot or a sketch, but with words.

Some people like to write their haiku in a strict 17-syllable count (five syllables for the first and third lines and seven syllables for the second line). Others want the freedom of writing three short lines without counting syllables (modern vs. Japanese forms). The main thing to remember is your poem should be easy to say and read in one breath. Read here if you want more instruction on writing haiku (season words, form, tips, and how to count syllables).

Now, onto our fifth way to write and share haiku.

#5: Saijiki (Season Word dictionary)

Haiku is all about seasons, but the poet doesn’t always mention the season directly. They use kigo (season words) that let readers know in what season the poem takes place. For example, when we read of tulips, we know it is springtime. Every country or region has its own weather and kigo. Let’s create a Saijiki (season dictionary) to use when writing our haiku!

my Saijiki for the summer season

You can see here that I’ve added words for the summer season where I live in northern California. Your season words will be different depending on where you live.


Use this print-ready PDF to create your own Saijiki, you can then fold (or cut and staple) it into a small booklet to take with you on the go.


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Next week

Don’t miss next week when we continue with the sixth installment in our HOW DO YOU HAIKU?© series of posts.

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