Tag Archives: 大田原

The Giant Trees of Tochigi: α3 The Twin Giant Cryptomeria of Chousen Temple

While showing me to the Giant Quercus Sessilifolia of Horinouchi, the lady at the local appliance repair shop mentioned that, further up the hill, I could find some very large cryptomeria. She wasn’t wrong, you know.

#55 Giant Quercus Sessilifolia of Horinouchi
These cryptomeria are also listed Natural Monuments.

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

The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #55 The Giant Quercus Sessilifolia of Horinouchi

#55 Giant Quercus Sessilifolia of Horinouchi
If one parks at the Hanamaya Densetsu shop near the Horinouchi intersection, one can see a sign for a Kannon, and, following the path, it is not long until one is face to face with the Giant Quercus Sessilifolia.

Number: 55
Name: Giant Quercus Sessilifolia of Horinouchi (堀之内のツクバネガシ)
Type: Evergreen Oak (Quercus Sessilifolia)
Height: 14m
Trunk Circumference: 7.2m
Age: 500 years
Location: 栃木県大田原市堀之内 (36° 52′ 35″N 140° 07′ 42″E)
Date of Visit: 2011-5-21

#55 Giant Quercus Sessilifolia of Horinouchi
This sign, on the right as you pass away from Horinouchi intersection, is the landmark you must look for. Just before reaching this, there is an electric repair shop with a lovely lady who let me park there and then showed me to the tree.

On the left bank of the Naka River, in Horinouchi district of old Kurobane Town (now part of Otawara City), there is the Iwaya Kannon. On the path leading to the Iwaya Kannon, one stumbles across this Giant Quercus Sessilifolia. However, though it is on the path to the Iwaya Kannon, this tree actually belongs to the Horinouchi Neighbourhood Council, and not the Kannon temple.

When one approaches from the bottom, the tree looks like any tree might when it reaches this tree’s advanced years. There is no hint of that which lies on the other side.

#55 Giant Quercus Sessilifolia of Horinouchi
Several people can fit into the gap in the trunk. In fact, the gap is so large it's difficult to believe any heartwood remained to keep the tree alive. And yet my eyes tell me there must have been plenty.

No one knows how many years ago this tree was struck by lightning, but it must have been a very powerful strike for there is now a massive gap in the backside of the tree, big enough for several people to stand within. But despite this terrible trauma, the tree continued to grow and continues to thrive to this day.

#55 Giant Quercus Sessilifolia of Horinouchi
And here, with the 9th tree, ends my adventure of May 21, 2011. But this is not the end of my giant tree adventures. There are still many more trees to visit!

Maybe, this is the biggest quercus sessilifolia in all of Tochigi. It is not a common tree even at the best of times — in English it has no common name, unless you want to be insufficiently specific and call it an oak, as all members of quercus may be called. Nevertheless, this tree is made all the more uncommon by its age, its size, and the tremendous void within it.

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