Name: Forked Nutmeg-yew of Sagehashi (下ヶ橋の三ツ股カヤ)
Type: Nutmeg-yew (Torreya nucifera)
Trunk Circumference: 5.2m
Age: >500 years
Location: 栃木県宇都宮市下ヶ橋町（東下ヶ橋） (36° 38′ 56″N 139° 56′ 37″E)
Date of Visit: 2011-7-18
This tree is actually in someone’s back yard. They were around, but I couldn’t attract their attention, and so I entered through the gate.
I thought what a strange juxtaposition it was. Here I was presented with a nearly-home, and within spitting distance of the back door is a natural monument, an old nutmeg-yew. Even situations such as these exist, I guess. A brief look around showed what looked like an old well, and old irrigation marks. I guess there has always been a house here. As I approached the tree, I noticed that a colony of bees had set up shop in the southwest crotch, so I did not get too close.
It is said that on August 10th in 享保８年 (that’s 1723 CE), in the middle period of the Time of the Monkey (申中刻, which would be around 5pm, according to our modern reckoning), old Lake Ikari (五十里湖) broke its banks. Heavy flooding was visited on the entire region. To save the elderly and the woman and children, the men stayed behind until the very end, ensuring the safety of the community. At the last minute, urged on by someone’s call, the men climbed this nutmeg-yew and, fortunately, narrowly escaped a terrible death. That’s what’s said.
Now, looking at the peaceful visage of this great old tree, it’s impossible to imagine that this is a grand old nutmeg-yew that has gone through such a trial as what happened in the eighth year of Kyouhou.
I try to show you my Japan. Won’t you show us your Japan?