Mogami River
Native nameMogami-gawa (Japanese)
Physical characteristics
SourceMount Azuma
 • location Yonezawa, Yamagata
 • coordinates37°45′50″N 140°10′48″E / 37.764°N 140.180°E / 37.764; 140.180
 • elevation1,780 m (5,840 ft)
MouthSea of Japan
 • location
Sakata, Yamagata
 • coordinates
38°55′23″N 139°48′36″E / 38.923°N 139.810°E / 38.923; 139.810
 • elevation
0 m (0 ft)
Length229 km (142 mi)
Basin size7,040 km2 (2,720 sq mi)
 • average392 m3/s (13,800 cu ft/s)

The Mogami River (最上川, Mogami-gawa) is a river in Yamagata Prefecture, Japan.

Description and history

The river is 224 km long and has a watershed of 7,040 km2. It is regarded as one of the three most rapid rivers of Japan (along with the Fuji River and the Kuma River).

The river rises from southern Yamagata Prefecture, flows to the north, and turns west at Shinjō, then flows into the Sea of Japan at Sakata. Water transportation once flourished on the river and carried local products such as safflowers and rice to the Kansai region.

Cultural references

The Mogami River appears as an utamakura in Japanese poetry, with the influential 17th-century poet Matsuo Bashō composing several hokku regarding the river during his travels alongside it.[1][2] Some were revised as haiku in the memoir of his journeys, including this well-known poem:

samidare o atsumete hayashi Mogami-gawa
gathering the rains
of the wet season — swift
the Mogami River
(trans. Shirane)

The character Yūko Aioi in Nichijou has inner monologues in haiku form, all ending with the name of the river as a complete non sequitur (as she cannot think of a full 5-7-5 haiku).[3]

Mogami-gawa is also the name of the anthem of Yamagata Prefecture written by Emperor Hirohito. The Japanese Navy had two different cruisers named Mogami.



  1. ^ Shirane, Haruo (1998). Traces of Dreams: Landscape, Cultural Memory, and the Poetry of Bashō. Stanford University Press. pp. 170–173. ISBN 0804730997.
  2. ^ Greve, Gabi (2012-11-14). "WKD - Matsuo Basho Archives: Oku Station 31 - Sakata". World Kigo Database. Retrieved 2017-06-04.
  3. ^ Mozzocco, J. Caleb (2016-07-21). "Review: 'Nichijou,' vol. 1 — Good Comics for Kids". School Library Journal. Retrieved 2017-06-04.