The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #5 The Giant Zelkova of Kamitokujira

#5 The Giant Zelkova of Kamitokujira
Viewed from the road, one can tell immediately that this is no ordinary tree.

Number: 5
Name: Giant Zelkova of Kamitokujira (上徳次郎のケヤキ)
Type: Japanese Zelkova (Zelkowa serrata)
Height: 38m
Trunk Circumference: 7.9m
Age: Unknown
Location: 栃木県宇都宮市徳次郎町(上徳次郎) (36° 39′ 35.1858″N 139° 50′ 7.7496″E)
Date of Visit: 2011-7-18

This zelkova stands on the grounds of an old family home.

#5 The Giant Zelkova of Kamitokujira
My timing was excellent, meeting them just as they were on their way out, and they were kind enough to pose for a photo, too.

I was going to just take photos from outside, but as it happened, the family was just on their way out to start the day’s farm work. I asked if I could take some pictures and the old fellow invited me in and showed me the way to the tree.

#5 The Giant Zelkova of Kamitokujira
Because there are such big swathes of smooth bark, it almost looks like a younger tree, but the complexity of the trunk betrays its true age.

The trunk of this zelkova has a very complex shape. It’s as if the roots rise right up the trunk. It certainly looks like an ancient tree.

#5 The Giant Zelkova of Kamitokujira
It's actually pretty densely wooded back in here. Lots of trees vying for light.

Big, thick, old branches can’t really be seen. All of the branches are young and straining skyward with great energy.

#5 The Giant Zelkova of Kamitokujira
Because of the youthfulness of the top half of the tree, one wonders if the top half wasn't cut off or otherwise lost at some point in the past, and so only the base is ancient, while the top is the younger new shoots given a chance by that calamity.

Immediately adjacent to this tree is a fence and then the Nikko-Utsunomiya Toll Road. In fact, I had a little trouble finding the place, because, due to its proximity to the toll road, and also due to the stupidity of my navi, the navi wanted me to get on the toll road and then stop ON THE HIGHWAY when I got near the tree. Luckily, I know navi’s boneheaded ways, and found my own way to the tree.

#5 The Giant Zelkova of Kamitokujira
Herein, as with so many of the trees I've found, dwells a kami.
#5 The Giant Zelkova of Kamitokujira
With a final look back into the dense undergrowth, I turn and head off to my next destination.

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