The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #82 The Giant Ginkgo of Togakushi Shrine

The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #82 The Giant Ginkgo of Togakushi Shrine
At the end of an avenue of cryptomeria lies Togakushi Shrine. The avenue doubles as a laneway for a farmhouse that's just behind and to the left of the camera.

Number: 82
Name: The Giant Ginkgo of Togakushi Shrine (戸隠神社のイチョウ)
Type: Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
Height: 38m
Trunk Circumference: 5.7m
Age: 350 years
Location: 栃木県那須郡那珂川町大内 (36° 45′ 06″N 140° 13′ 55″E)
Date of Visit: 2011-8-13

The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #82 The Giant Ginkgo of Togakushi Shrine
The entrance as seen from Prefectural Road 232.

Near the Ibaraki border, in the mountains, surrounded by rice fields, there is Togakushi Shrine. Off Prefectural Road 232, there is an arrow-straight 150m cryptomeria-lined path to the shrine. Behind the shrine, there’s a fairly large cryptomeria.

The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #82 The Giant Ginkgo of Togakushi Shrine
A wee bit of scarring.

Standing in front of the main shrine building is this large ginkgo. The thick single trunk stretches skyward, and I feel this tree has a great character. Around the base, it can be seen where young suckers have been cut out. It’s been done to preserve this tree’s shape, I guess.

The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #82 The Giant Ginkgo of Togakushi Shrine
A summer canopy to be enjoyed.

Ginkgo are dioecious. This means that there are female trees and male trees (unlike, say, tomatoes which have both male and female bits in the same flower — hermaphroditic, or cucumbers which have male and female bits on the same plant but in different flowers — monoecious). This is a female tree.

The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #82 The Giant Ginkgo of Togakushi Shrine
There are new suckers low down, and one assumes that whoever maintains this tree will tend to them if they get out of control.

Surrounded as it is by cryptomeria, one can imagine that in autumn, this ginkgo truly shines, as the cryptomeria remains unchanging, this ginkgo will shine in bright yellow.

The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #82 The Giant Ginkgo of Togakushi Shrine
Now, I must keep moving. I reckon I've unnerved the inhabitants of the farmhouse for long enough.

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

A taste of summer…

Passion Fruit
In September or October 2010, a co-worker gave me a small passion fruit cutting.

I grew it on in the apartment all winter, and put it out on the veranda come spring. Passion fruit flowers are finicky. Perfect flowers, but the configuration and the heaviness of the pollen make it unlikely for wind to accomplish pollination. So you either need a healthy bee/wasp population interested in the vine, or need to be on top of it with a paintbrush all the time. So, of the 10 or so flowers that bloomed, I only got four fruit set. Then they sat on the vine FOR MONTHS, not doing much. Finally, they turned purple and fell off.

 

 

Passion Fruit
Yummy passion fruit goodness! So good!