The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #48 The Giant Zelkova of Naganuma Hachiman Shrine

#48 The Giant Zelkova of Naganuma Hachiman Shrine
Here is the entrance to the shrine. It looks impressive, but it’s made less impressive by the gas stand to the right and the post office to the left of the shot.

Number: 48
Name: The Giant Zelkova of Naganuma Hachiman Shrine (長沼八幡宮のけやき)
Type: Zelkowa serrata
Height: 30m
Trunk Circumference: 5.7m
Age: >300 years
Location: 栃木県真岡市長沼字宮ノ内 (36° 22′ 07″N 139° 55′ 44″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-8-2

#48 The Giant Zelkova of Naganuma Hachiman Shrine
There’s the tree! And there’s the aforementioned gas station in the background.

About 500m east of the Kinu River (鬼怒川), near the New Daidouizumi Bridge, is Naganuma Hachiman Shrine. Here enshrined is Hondawake-no-Mikoto (誉田別命). According to the histories kept in the storehouse at the shrine, in Enryaku 14 (延暦14年, 795 CE), Sakanoue no Tamuramaro (坂上田村麻呂) stayed here while on his journey back from the campaigns in the north, and built this shrine. Does this sound familiar? It should, because it’s been a recurring theme in the giant trees I’ve visited. “Oh, Sakanoue no Tamuramaro planted this tree”; “Sakanoue no Tamuramaro slept here and then had a shrine built”; “Sakanoue no Tamuramaro is my babydaddy”, etc. Okay maybe not that last one.

#48 The Giant Zelkova of Naganuma Hachiman Shrine
One of the piddliest shimenawa I’ve ever seen.

Whether the story is true or not, what can be said is that in the Bunmei Era (文明年間, 1469-1487 CE), the Naganuma Clan (長沼民) fell, and the shrine started to slide into ruin. Its revival wasn’t to come about until the Edo Period.

#48 The Giant Zelkova of Naganuma Hachiman Shrine
Sun through leaves~

From the temple gate, this tree lies at the far right of the compound. This tree has a really large canopy, and it’s a really pleasing shape. I reckon it’s still growing, too — it seems really strong and healthy. There’s a thin shimenawa on the trunk, so I reckon this is probably the Sacred Tree of the shrine.

3 thoughts on “The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #48 The Giant Zelkova of Naganuma Hachiman Shrine”

  1. Hello,
    Sorry to post my ask here but I didn’t find the possibility to leave a comment in another place.
    After watching 5cm per second that reminded me a very good amv with hoshi no koe. After a big search on the web I didn’t find it anymore.
    Hopefully I’ve found you re website (a nice one). The video seem to not work anymore. I really want to see this amv again. Did you uploaded it in another place on the web ?
    Best regards,

    1. Hello!

      Maybe 9-10 years ago, Evanescence started getting everything using their music removed from the internet, because they hate sharing etc., so this AMV got removed from all the ten thousand places.

      But, just for you, I’ve re-uploaded it here:
      My Immortal

      enjoy 😀

      1. Yes that was long time ago but the amv gave me very good feeling so thanks a lot.
        I will try to get the others you made.
        Have good moment in japan.
        Bye from Paris 🙂

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