Name: The Bishamonten Cryptomeria (毘沙門天のスギ)
Type: Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
Trunk Circumference: 7.0m
Age: 600 years
Location: 栃木県足利市大岩町 (36° 22′ 13″N 139° 29′ 22″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-7-25
From the Ashikaga Racetrack in Yobe-cho, head north towards Mt. Ooiwa along the valley road. Keep climbing the road up and up towards the summit of Mt. Ooiwa. Before too long, at a bend in the road, you’ll see flags and stairs leading up to Saishou Temple (最勝寺).
These steps, a protected cultural artifact of Ashikaga City, were constructed in Houei 1 (宝永元年, 1704CE). If you climb them, you will approach Deva Gate (also a cultural artifact) and the main temple building.
The tree here is to the right of the main temple building, but not on the flat ground of the temple compound, but rather on the steep slope beside it. This is the largest cryptomeria in Ashikaga.
According to the information board, the southwest face of the trunk has a scar running from top to bottom, thought to be the remnant of a lightning strike in the far past. But this is the face directly opposite my vantage point, so I cannot comment on it one way or the other.