Known as the "town of green, water and serenity,"Koto City figured significantly in the life of Matsuo Basho, who left a great contribution to the literature of Japan.
In 1680 Basho left Nihonbashi, in Edo (as Tokyo was then known), to live in a thatched cottage in Fukagawa, some distance away from Nihonbashi the center of the city.
At that time, Fukagawa was a quiet, swampy area, and the Basho(banana) tree planted by one of his disciples grew so luxuriantly that his cottage was known as the "Basho-an", and "Basho" became his pen name.
Living in Fukagawa, or using it as the base for his journeys around Japan, Basho established the present form of the haiku, producing many excellent works by which the haiku, until then regarded primarily as an entertaining pastime, gained acceptance as a major literary genre. It was also in Fukagawa that Basho sat down to write most of his travel journals, including his most famous one, The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
We know that after Basho's death, the Fukagawa "Basho-an" cottage was preserved as a precious historic spot within the site of a samurai residence, but it disappeared at some time in the late 19th century.
After the great tidal wave that swept the area in 1917, a stone frog that Basho is believed to have been fond of during his lifetime was discovered, and in 1921 the Tokyo government designated Tokiwa 1-3 as the historic site of the Basho-an.
However, the designated plot was too small to restore the site to its original condition, and continued efforts were made to procure the surrounding land. Eventually this was accomplished and Koto Ward made the site a historic landmark.
The Basho Museum opened on April 19, 1981. In the garden are a small shrine and pond, and on exhibit are artifacts related to Basho and haiku poetry contributed by such men as Manabe Giju.
The museum also serves as a center for literary research and holds regular haiku meetings, and through such activities contributes to the preservation and advancement of culture.