Name: Giant Quercus Sessilifolia of Horinouchi (堀之内のツクバネガシ)
Type: Evergreen Oak (Quercus Sessilifolia)
Trunk Circumference: 7.2m
Age: 500 years
Location: 栃木県大田原市堀之内 (36° 52′ 35″N 140° 07′ 42″E)
Date of Visit: 2011-5-21
On the left bank of the Naka River, in Horinouchi district of old Kurobane Town (now part of Otawara City), there is the Iwaya Kannon. On the path leading to the Iwaya Kannon, one stumbles across this Giant Quercus Sessilifolia. However, though it is on the path to the Iwaya Kannon, this tree actually belongs to the Horinouchi Neighbourhood Council, and not the Kannon temple.
When one approaches from the bottom, the tree looks like any tree might when it reaches this tree’s advanced years. There is no hint of that which lies on the other side.
No one knows how many years ago this tree was struck by lightning, but it must have been a very powerful strike for there is now a massive gap in the backside of the tree, big enough for several people to stand within. But despite this terrible trauma, the tree continued to grow and continues to thrive to this day.
Maybe, this is the biggest quercus sessilifolia in all of Tochigi. It is not a common tree even at the best of times — in English it has no common name, unless you want to be insufficiently specific and call it an oak, as all members of quercus may be called. Nevertheless, this tree is made all the more uncommon by its age, its size, and the tremendous void within it.
I try to show you my Japan. Won’t you show us your Japan?