Name: The Giant Zelkova of Marudake Shrine (丸嶽山神社のケヤキ)
Type: Japanese Zelkova (Zelkowa serrata)
Trunk Circumference: 7.4m
Age: 700 years
Location: 栃木県佐野市多田町 (36° 23′ 58″N 139° 35′ 24″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-5-5
Marudake-machi (丸岳町), where Marudake Shrine (丸嶽山神社) is located, is north of National Road 293 in a small valley. In this area, the mountain gods are still respected, and so everywhere you go, mountain shrines can be found.
To look at a map of the area, it seems that the road to this shrine is very narrow, and so I thought I may have to walk in, but as it happens, the navi said I could drive all the way in and, indeed, the road is paved and wide enough for a single car all the way back to the shrine.
This Prefectural Natural Monument is to the right of the torii. It stands surrounded by a chain link fence.
The main feature of this tree is its trunk covered in lots of bumps. The base has spread and become thick, so the tree has a solid, girthy appearance. I reckon that the “trunk circumference” measurement wasn’t taken at the base, but rather further up where it becomes more regular shaped.
About 10m above the ground, you can see where the main trunk has been lost and has thereby forked in two. Low down, as well, young branches and new leaves can be seen.
Though it is impossible, I reckon, for this tree to regain the vigour it had in its youth, as it grows old it continues to firmly hold on to life.