The Giant Trees of Tochigi #17: The Evergreen Beech of Raiden Shrine

#17 The Giant Evergreen Beech of Raiden Shrine
Up a path and past some snakes and bamboo, you find Raiden Shrine.

Number: 17
Name: The Evergreen Beech of Raiden Shrine (雷電神社の椎の木)
Type: Evergreen Beech/Chinquapin (Castanopsis sieboldii)
Height: 16m
Trunk Circumference: 6.2m
Age: 400 years
Location: 栃木県栃木市大平町富田 (36° 20′ 43″N 139° 41′ 48″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-5-5

About 200m north of Oohirashita Stn. (on the JR Ryomo Line) at the base of a hill is Raiden Shrine.

#17 The Giant Evergreen Beech of Raiden Shrine
What a tiny sign!

North of the station and running parallel to the the Ryomo Line tracks is a narrow road, and beside that road is a very small sign that says nothing but “Beech”. If you park nearby and follow the narrow path past a bamboo grove and manage to avoid the snakes, you’ll be able to see the Giant Evergreen Beech.

The Evergreen Beech is immediately next to the stone stairs of the shrine. It’s the sacred tree of this shrine.

#17 The Giant Evergreen Beech of Raiden Shrine

It seems at though the top has been lost off this tree at some point, so it’s not particularly tall. In the past, a hollow in the upper trunk weakened it until it broke off in a storm. Despite this, the remaining wood is strong and vigorous. I think it’s still growing, bit by bit.

This is the largest tree in Oohira-machi.

#17 The Giant Evergreen Beech of Raiden Shrine