Name: The Sacred Zelkova of Nakamura Hachiman Shrine (中村八幡宮の神木)
Type: Zelkowa serrata
Trunk Circumference: 5.5m
Age: 800 years
Location: 栃木県真岡市中 (36° 24′ 50″N 139° 57′ 13″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-8-2
On the left bank of the Kinu River (鬼怒川), about 1.5km east of the Mooka Kinu Park Golf Club, on a bit of high land you’ll find Nakamura Hachiman Shrine. It is a shrine that is blessed with a grove full of huge trees.
According to the information boards, in Bunji 5 (文治５年, 1189 CE) upon his triumphal return home from taking part in Minamoto no Yoritomo’s (源頼朝) subjugation of the north, local feudal lord Nakamura Tokinaga presented a Gunbai (軍配団扇) to the shrine. At that time, this zelkova was planted. The age above is based on this story being true.
This is a stern, bumpy tree, and the shrine folk say that this is appropriate given the story of its planting.