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.
Name: Giant Cryptomeria of Onsen Shrine (温泉神社のスギ)
Type: Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
Trunk Circumference: 5.4m
Age: 200~299 years
Location: 栃木県大田原市中野内 (36° 54′ 28″N 140° 08′ 46″E)
Date of Visit: 2011-5-21
In the district of Nakanouchi, to the west of prefectural road 27 linking Kuroiso, Kurobane and Motegi, one can find Onsen Shrine. It is popularly called Oomiya. A local bridge is also called Oomiya Bridge.
In official records, this shrine’s date of establishment is unknown, what is known is that in the 2nd year of Daiji (1127 CE), Sudougon’nokami Sadanobu (須藤権守貞信) (what a friggin’ name, I have to say) built the main shrine building, and after that, it was home to the guardian deity of the Nasu Clan, which lived in these parts at that time. In more recent times, the Oseki Clan, traditional lords of Kurohane-han, now Otawara City, gave 50 koku to the shrine district (社領, that is, the region in which a particular shrine or temple was able to tax, administer justice, and so on). At times of festival, the daimyo is said to have often visited this shrine, so one can imagine that this place was a big deal in the past.
Opening off of the prefectural road, and heading up two flights of stone stairs, this tree is located just below the main hall on the right-hand side. It’s a beautiful cryptomeria with beautiful bark texture.