The Giant Trees of Tochigi #28: The Giant Cryptomeria of Tenmanhoshinomiya Shrine

#28 The Giant Cryptomeria of Tenmanhoshinomiya Shrine
This stone torii is beside Prefectural Road 15.

Number: 28
Name: The Giant Cryptomeria of Tenmanhoshinomiya Shrine (天満星宮神社のスギ)
Type: Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
Height: unknown
Trunk Circumference: 7.4m (upper) / 6.3m (lower)
Age: 550 years
Location: 栃木県鹿沼市下粕尾松崎 (36° 30′ 25″N 139° 38′ 15″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-4-30

#28 The Giant Cryptomeria of Tenmanhoshinomiya Shrine
The stairs lie ahead, and a path lies to the right.

If you drive along Prefectural Road 15 (The Kanuma-Ashio Line), in roughly the center of Matsuzaki Village, on the north side of the road at the base of a hill, rising from the surroundings you can see a clump of cryptomeria. Surely, here is a shrine. Among the trees there standing, there are a couple outstandingly large ones. Those trees are these trees.

#28 The Giant Cryptomeria of Tenmanhoshinomiya Shrine
Someone clearly cares about this place, and keeps it done up. Not like Yagurasan Shrine.

In this area, there are lots of shrines called Hoshinomiya or Hoshimiya (星宮). Actually, it has been said that Tochigi is has the most shrines of this name of any prefecture. There are 170 shrines of that name, and if we include all shrines that include it as part of their name (such as this one), the number rises to 261[1]. This one, however, also houses a Tenman Shrine, which is unusual.

#28 The Giant Cryptomeria of Tenmanhoshinomiya Shrine
The lower tree.

On the shrine grounds, there are two large cryptomeria that particularly catch the eye. The first is just a little along the path to the right of the stone stairs after you pass through the torii.

#28 The Giant Cryptomeria of Tenmanhoshinomiya Shrine
Oh look, this one is double-trunked too. A double-trunked cryptomeria in Kanuma? SHOCKU.

The other is in front of the shrine itself, near the teetertotter. There are two or three more cryptomeria here that are worthy of designation and protection, I think.

#28 The Giant Cryptomeria of Tenmanhoshinomiya Shrine
#28 The Giant Cryptomeria of Tenmanhoshinomiya Shrine
Look at that root! Massive!
#28 The Giant Cryptomeria of Tenmanhoshinomiya Shrine
Whatchu lookin' at?