Name: The Giant Zelkova of Beppu (別府のケヤキ)
Type: Zelkowa serrata
Trunk Circumference: 6.5m
Age: >500 years
Location: 栃木県芳賀郡市貝町田野辺 (36° 34′ 03″N 140° 07′ 16″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-8-2
This tree was on the grounds of a private home.
There was a small shrine at its base for the household gods.
It had a very peculiar shape. Two trunks, joined at the bottom, then free, then joined again part way up, then free; it was a very twisted, very bumpy tree. It had fresh growth up and down the entire length of the tree. It was healthy.
It was probably the biggest tree in all of Ichikai.
And then came the storm that spawned tornadoes in Mooka and Tsukuba. On that day, though no tornado touched down as far north as Ichikai, the wind was intense and the tree was tilted askew just enough that the owners chose to cut it down, for safety. It’s a shame.
Next week marks the final tree, and the end of a project I started three years ago. Final tree for now, that is.