The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #3 The Giant Camphor of Hachimanyama

#3 The Giant Camphor of Hachimanyama
Even up here, there are power lines.

Number: 3
Name: Giant Camphor of Hachimanyama (八幡山のクスノキ)
Type: Camphor (クスノキ)
Height: 22m
Trunk Circumference: 9.9m
Age: 300 years
Location: 栃木県宇都宮市塙田5丁目 (36° 34′ 12″N 139° 53′ 10″E)
Date of Visit: 2011-5-25

In the north of Utsunomiya’s city centre, north of the Tochigi Prefectural Office, on a wide, high bit of land one can find Hachimanyama Park.

Parking sneakily in a parking lot near the Hachimanyama Christian cemetary, I walked into the park. It was mid-morning, and many people could be seen walking up and down the many steep paths of the park to keep themselves in shape. But as I got further into the park, the people melted away, and I was alone, save for some big hovering buzzy bee-like bugs that followed me, but gave no bother.

#3 The Giant Camphor of Hachimanyama
A natural monument, complete with information board.

This tree, a municipal Natural Monument, is very close to Utsunomiya Tower. From up here, it overlooks the entire city. This tree has many individual trunks, which, taken by themselves, are not so big or impressive. But, clustered as they are, their gravity is increased. This tree, despite its age, seems extremely healthy. After the earthquake of March 11, the park officials have roped off parts of the area for fear that they have become unstable and will slip. It would be terrible if the earth surrounding this tree were to slide away, but it seems to be fine for now.

#3 The Giant Camphor of Hachimanyama
Utsunomiya Tower. It is a tower, but it does not control people's minds. That is only the CN Tower, you know.

The place where this camphor tree stands is at an elevation of 150m. Utsunomiya Tower is 89m tall. At 30m, there is a public viewing platform which you can visit for a price. It’s catchphrase is “A viewing platform from which you can see the entire unbroken horizon” (日本一の地平線が一望できる展望台です).

Maybe you can see the horizon from the camphor tree, too, when the weather is right.

#3 The Giant Camphor of Hachimanyama
Beautiful dappled sunlight.
#3 The Giant Camphor of Hachimanyama
The yellow caution tape and signs warn the the earth may be unstable due to the earthquake.
#3 The Giant Camphor of Hachimanyama
The signpost says that the tree usually blossoms "around May", but this was May 25th, and those buds don't look like they're gonna open any time soon.
#3 The Giant Camphor of Hachimanyama
Goodbye, Giant Camphor. I'll see you again someday.

I try to show you my Japan. Won’t you show me your Japan?