The Giant Trees of Tochigi: α4 The Giant Zelkova of Enshuu Temple

α4 The Giant Zelkova of Enshuu Temple
The front entrance to the complex.

Number: α4
Name: Giant Zelkova of Enshuu Temple (円宗寺のケヤキ)
Type: Japanese Zelkova (Zelkowa Serrata)
Height: Unknown
Trunk Circumference: Unknown
Age: Unknown
Location: 栃木県下都賀郡壬生町大字上稲葉 (36° 27′ 10.5942″N 139° 46′ 14.6958″E)
Date of Visit: 2011-7-18

I was passed a note in early June suggesting that here, at Enshuu Temple, there may be a giant zelkova. I made a note, and when out on this particular day, I realized it was on my planned route, so I stopped in.

α4 The Giant Zelkova of Enshuu Temple
There seems to be stonking great ginkgo behind these statues.

There was a family in the main temple having a ceremony for a family member who had died. In Buddhist tradition, there are specific ceremonies that are held at fixed intervals after a person’s death. They exited just as I was approaching, and I apologized for intruding before asking them if they knew of the zelkova I sought.

“Ah, you must mean that tree. I’m afraid you’re two years too late. It’s gone.”

α4 The Giant Zelkova of Enshuu Temple
Nothing remains but stump.

This is all that remains of the Giant Zelkova of Enshuu Temple. As with so many old trees, the insides had dried and hollowed, and a strong enough gust of wind is all it takes to blow them over. This one had become so bad that, for fear of it falling on the temple or the graves, it was decided to cut it down.

α4 The Giant Zelkova of Enshuu Temple
I wonder if anyone came here 49 days after it was felled to pay their respects. At any rate, I wanted to get to my next destination and leave this sadness behind me.

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