Name: Giant Ginkgo of Oonomuro (大野室のイチョウ)
Type: Ginkgo/Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba)
Trunk Circumference: 6.5m
Age: >300 years
Location: 栃木県大田原市寒井大野室 (36° 55′ 19″N 140° 06′ 34″E)
Date of Visit: 2011-5-21
On the right bank of the Naka River, not so far from prefectural road 34 which connects Kuroiso with Kurobane, one can find Mishima Shrine. In the long, perfectly straight avenue of cryptomeria leading to the shrine, slightly out of place, is this single Giant Ginkgo.
This ginkgo is considerably older than the cryptomeria that line the approach to the shrine. One can imagine that once upon a time, the scenery of the approach was quite different than it is today.
Nearby, a handwritten information board made from a slice of another giant tree can be seen. According to that sign, the shrine was established in the 2nd year of the Daidou Era (so, 807 CE). At first, Yakushinyorai (薬師如来, Bhaisajyaguru, the buddha who is able to cure all ills) was enshrined here, where he was called Wise God Mishima.
As for the ginkgo, it is written that people used to pray here for troubles with breastfeeding, but there seems to be no explanation beyond that.
I try to show you my Japan. Won’t you show us your Japan?