Name: The Giant Cryptomeria of Murahi Shrine (村檜神社のスギ)
Type: Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
Trunk Circumference: 6.0m
Age: 1000 years
Location: 栃木県下都賀郡岩舟町小野寺 (36° 22′ 08″N 139° 37′ 28″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-5-5
Along Prefectural Road 75 which runs alongside the Tohoku Expressway, near the meeting with Prefectural Road 282, there lies Murahi Shrine. It lies just to the north of Daiji Temple, which was visited in 1964 by Dr. Edwin O. Reischauer, then US Ambassador to Japan (probably on the same trip that took him to Mibu Temple).
In 40 year old Environment Agency data, three trees lists as having trunk circumferences of 6.0, 5.4 and 5.2 meters are said to be here, but it’s so old, and there’s a chance that no one from the agency ever actually came to measure for themselves, so it’s hard to tell for certain which is which, but I’d reckon the one by the stone stairs is the biggest, the one in front of the office is second and the one in front of the main shrine is third. In fact, in this area there are many individual trees that could fit into “giant tree” group, and the entire forest around this shrine is protected as a designated natural monument of Iwafune.
Of the three trees, the large one by the stone steps is the most impressive. Of the three, this is the strongest one, no doubt, though it cannot be denied that all three are winding down. The one in front of the office has weak foliage, and the top seems… I wouldn’t say withered, but less-than-full, if you catch my meaning. It doesn’t really show up in the photos, because I am not good at photographing things. I’d guess that the inside of the tree is slowly hollowing out. I’m worried that it will fall over in a strong storm one of these years.