The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #68 The Giant Zelkova of Sazarashi

#68 The Giant Zelkova of Sazarashi
The remaining side branches sure do make a good show.

Number: 68
Name: The Giant Zelkova of Sazarashi (九石のけやき)
Type: Zelkowa serrata
Height: 17m
Trunk Circumference: 7.5m
Age: 800 years
Location: 栃木県芳賀郡茂木町九石 (36° 33′ 53″N 140° 10′ 13″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-8-2

#68 The Giant Zelkova of Sazarashi
Lovely leaves.

If you turn south from Prefectural Road 338 (The Haga-Motegi Line) near the Yanagida Bus Stop, and drive a short distance, you’ll find yourself in the community of Sazarashi. At the top of a small hill, maybe 700-800 m south of the Prefectural Road, you’ll find this zelkova.

#68 The Giant Zelkova of Sazarashi
There’s apparently only the very outer bit of the trunk left — the inside is completely hollow, and you can actually see right through it.

The main trunk was lost long ago, and what’s left are side branches that have grown from the remaining trunk. There are lots of young twigs, so it looks relatively healthy, but there is a bit of mistletoe here and there that is a bit concerning. There still isn’t too much though, so I can’t imagine it’s affecting the tree too much yet.

#68 The Giant Zelkova of Sazarashi
This tree was pretty neat! I was being chased by scary bugs though, so I didn’t take the chance to walk a bit further away and get a wider shot that would clearly show its unique shape. 🙁

In Genroku 11 (元禄11年, 1698 CE), this land was the domain of Kajikawa Yoriteru (梶川頼照). When on inspection tours of his lands, he would always stop and rest under this zelkova. After several such stops, he decided that this part of his domain should be called Daiboku no Moto (大木の下, “under the big tree”). Though the characters have changed, Kajikawa’s decision still remains, as the bus stop near this tree is called Daiboku no Moto (大木の元).

That’s it! This is the last tree. From next week, no new Giant Trees of Tochigi. There may be the occasional revisit, but the core 84 trees have all been visited (well, except for those three that are gone). I started this project in May 2010 (though my first visits were in January of that year, I didn’t decide to actually Get Them All until May). It’s all over.

I really hope you’ve enjoyed these, and I hope people will continue to pop in and read them from time to time. It’d mean a lot to me. Thanks for reading every week.

EDIT: Actually, I’ve been given a list of a further 31 trees. So uh… there’ll be more Giant Trees of Tochigi. Just give me time. First though, some other trees, and then another Friday spacefiller. But once I get a few days, I’ll be out and about and bagging more trees for you~