Name: Giant Camphor of Hachimanyama (八幡山のクスノキ)
Type: Camphor (クスノキ)
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.
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.
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.
I try to show you my Japan. Won’t you show me your Japan?