Name: The Giant Nutmeg-yew of Ryuusen Temple (竜泉寺のカヤ)
Type: Nutmeg-yew (Torreya nucifera)
Trunk Circumference: 8.2m
Age: 800 years
Location: 栃木県足利市稲岡町 (36° 19′ 56″N 139° 32′ 11″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-7-25
About 1.8km north-northwest of Tomita Station on the JR Ryomo Line, on the right bank of the Izura River (出流川), one finds the Shingon Buddhist Ryuusen Temple. There’s a stone bridge here, at the entrance. I didn’t walk over it, because it looked a little rickety, and I am a big guy. There’s a path around the side, making the bridge nothing more than decoration, and so I used that.
At the end of the bridge, and up a few stairs is the Deva Gate. Ascending through the gate and up the hill, you’ll find the Kannon of Inaoka. The temple of the Kannon was built in the early part of the Edo period, and it has been listed as an important cultural property of Ashikaga. The Deva Gate was built in Tempou 5 (天保５年, 1834CE). The gate isn’t a listed building, but the statues of the Deva Kings are. The statues were probably made at the same time as the gate, and though they’re sort of rough and childish, they have a certain quality.
To the right of the Deva Gate is another small gate. Ryuusen Temple is that way, and that way lies our nutmeg-yew. It certainly appears to be a marriage between two trees. About a century ago, the temple caught fire, and the blaze spread to this tree. Luckily, it has survived and still grows. Though, it is showing its age — it no longer fruits every year.