Tag Archives: イチョウ

The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #58 The Giant Ginkgo of Oonomuro

#58 Giant Ginkgo of Oonomuro
At the end of a long tree-lined path, just before the shrine, we reach the Giant Ginkgo of Oonomuro.

Number: 58
Name: Giant Ginkgo of Oonomuro (大野室のイチョウ)
Type: Ginkgo/Maidenhair Tree (Ginkgo biloba)
Height: 30m
Trunk Circumference: 6.5m
Age: >300 years
Location: 栃木県大田原市寒井大野室 (36° 55′ 19″N 140° 06′ 34″E)
Date of Visit: 2011-5-21

On the right bank of the Naka River, not so far from prefectural road 34 which connects Kuroiso with Kurobane, one can find Mishima Shrine. In the long, perfectly straight avenue of cryptomeria leading to the shrine, slightly out of place, is this single Giant Ginkgo.

#58 Giant Ginkgo of Oonomuro
The cryptomeria-lined avenue leads to the ginkgo, and to Mishima Shrine.

This ginkgo is considerably older than the cryptomeria that line the approach to the shrine. One can imagine that once upon a time, the scenery of the approach was quite different than it is today.

#58 Giant Ginkgo of Oonomuro
This information board was erected in August 1995.

Nearby, a handwritten information board made from a slice of another giant tree can be seen. According to that sign, the shrine was established in the 2nd year of the Daidou Era (so, 807 CE). At first, Yakushinyorai (薬師如来, Bhaisajyaguru, the buddha who is able to cure all ills) was enshrined here, where he was called Wise God Mishima.

#58 Giant Ginkgo of Oonomuro
A chain fence discourages people from approaching too closely.

As for the ginkgo, it is written that people used to pray here for troubles with breastfeeding, but there seems to be no explanation beyond that.

#58 Giant Ginkgo of Oonomuro
It was approaching 5pm on a mid-May day. Daylight was starting to fade, but I still had two more giant trees to find that day. Must keep moving.

I try to show you my Japan. Won’t you show us your Japan?

Giant Trees of Tochigi: #4 The Giant Ginkgo of Jougan Temple

#4 The Giant Ginkgo of Jougan Temple (by Mullenkedheim)

Number: 4
Name: The Giant Ginkgo of Jougan Temple (成願寺のイチョウ)
Type: Ginkgo
Height: 30m
Trunk Circumference: 5.9m
Age: 500 years
Location: 栃木県宇都宮市西刑部町(成願寺) (36° 29′ 56″N 139° 55′ 53″E)
Date of Visit: 2010-1-31

If you head eastward out of Utsunomiya on the new-ish National Route 121, just past the Industrial Park at Shimokuwajima-machi, on the right (south) side of the road, you will see a large Ginkgo.

Much like the Gingko, Jougan Temple is a splendid temple. These days, the temple and the grounds are undergoing improvements and work. Thought I tried to avoid it, the pylons of this work could not but find their way into some of the images.

The temple was founded in Tempyou-jingo 1 (765 CE) by Shoudou, who also founded temples in Nikko. The road the passes the gate, Municipal Road 406, has been called Jougan Temple Highway since time immemorial. This Ginkgo was surely a landmark for people walking the road.

#4 The Giant Ginkgo of Jougan Temple (by Mullenkedheim)

#4 The Giant Ginkgo of Jougan Temple (by Mullenkedheim)

#4 The Giant Ginkgo of Jougan Temple (by Mullenkedheim)

#4 The Giant Ginkgo of Jougan Temple (by Mullenkedheim)

#4 The Giant Ginkgo of Jougan Temple (by Mullenkedheim)

#4 The Giant Ginkgo of Jougan Temple (by Mullenkedheim)

#4 The Giant Ginkgo of Jougan Temple (by Mullenkedheim)

#4 The Giant Ginkgo of Jougan Temple (by Mullenkedheim)

Giant Trees of Tochigi: #2 The Grand Ginkgo of Asahimachi

#2 Grand Ginkgo of Asahimachi (by Mullenkedheim)

Number: 2
Name: Grand Ginkgo of Asahimachi (旭町の大いちょう)
Type: Gingko
Height: 32m
Trunk Circumference: 6.2m
Age: 300+ years
Location: 栃木県宇都宮市中央1丁目 (36° 33′ 27″N 139° 52′ 57″E)
Date of Visit: 2010-1-31

In Utsunomiya, at the intersection of the north-south road connecting City Hall with the Prefectural Government building and Ichou-dori, on the northwest corner stands this Ginkgo tree. The elevated location where it stands is the remnant of an earthen wall that formed a boundary at Utsunomiya Castle, but as it is now quite close to the downtown core, it was mostly lost. The Ginkgo was a symbol of Utsunomiya Castle, and later, an important symbol to the people of Utsunomiya City.

On July 12, 1945, from midnight until dawn, Utsunomiya suffered an American air raid. There were many victims, and approximately half the city center was lost. In the conflagration, this Ginkgo tree, too, was a victim, burned until it was completely pitch black. Yet, in the spring after the end of the war, green buds were to be seen sprouting from the tree that was thought to be dead. This gallantly strong life force lit the fire of courage in the hearts of the people of Utsunomiya.

Since then, this Ginkgo has become a symbol of the post-war revival. In 1986, on the 90th anniversary of the incorporation of Utsunomiya City, the citizens chose the Ginkgo as the city’s official tree. Surely, they were thinking of the Grand Ginkgo of Asahimachi when they made their choice.

#2 Grand Ginkgo of Asahimachi (by Mullenkedheim)

#2 Grand Ginkgo of Asahimachi (by Mullenkedheim)

#2 Grand Ginkgo of Asahimachi (by Mullenkedheim)

#2 Grand Ginkgo of Asahimachi (by Mullenkedheim)

#2 Grand Ginkgo of Asahimachi (by Mullenkedheim)