Name: The Giant Zelkova of Tomonuma Hachiman Shrine (友沼八幡神社のケヤキ)
Type: Zelkowa serrata
Trunk Circumference: 5.8m
Location: 栃木県下都賀郡野木町友沼 (36° 15′ 39″N 139° 44′ 16″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-7-28
Near Tomonuma Elementary School, east of Old Route 4, one can find this Hachiman Shrine. Entering from the front, this zelkova can be seen towering at the very back of the compound. It was designated a tree of historical interest by Nogi Town in Heisei 5 (平成５年, 1993 CE).
It is said that in the Edo Period, the Shogun would make regular visits to Nikko Toshogu along the Nikko Kaido. The tenth station on the Nikko Kaido, where the entourage would stop to rest was here. Though impossible from this exact location now due to modern construction, it is written that at that time, one could see Mt. Tsukuba from here, and it would have been an eye-catching sight for any Shogun.
This zelkova, too, would have been eyecatching, I expect.
The Giant Trees of Tochigi is going on a short break for the holidays. We’ll return on January 18, 2013 at 19:00 JST.