Tag Archives: field

The Giant Trees of Tochigi #21: The Jizo Zelkova of Shougan Temple

#21 The Jizo Zelkova of Shougan Temple
The Jizo Zelkova is a rather odd shape. Zelkova usually grow fairly straight, branching only higher up.

Number: 21
Name: The Jizo Zelkova of Shougan Temple (勝願寺の地蔵けやき)
Type: Japanese Zelkova (Zelkowa serrata)
Height: 16m
Trunk Circumference: 6.3m
Age: 700 years
Location: 栃木県鹿沼市油田町 (36° 31′ 14″N 139° 42′ 42″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-4-30

#21 The Jizo Zelkova of Shougan Temple
What a twisted, lovely tree.

Aburaden-machi is located between the Omoi River (思川) and its tributary, the Ooashi River (大芦川). Off towards the Omoi is Old Awano.

#21 The Jizo Zelkova of Shougan Temple
Somehow, there is a stake in there! There seems to be writing on it, but I couldn't make it out. Looks to be names on the side facing this way though. Kobayashi, Yaguchi, Yano, etc.

On the north side of Prefectural Road 15 (The Kanuma-Ashio Line) is Nanma Elementary School, and stretching along the eastern side of their field is the path to Shougan Temple. The temple seems to home to the 15th of the 33 Kannons of Kanuma.

The Jizo Zelkova stands at the side of that path.

#21 The Jizo Zelkova of Shougan Temple
This tree features in Tochigi's list of important trees, and rightly so.

It has a very strange shape. It’s as though, very long ago, the main trunk was lost and only the bark remained, but then the roots and the bark kept growing, and now there are several trunks intertwined. In the gap at the bottom, one can see a small statue of Jizo, and it is from this that the tree gets its name. Off to the side, there is another larger Jizo watching.

#21 The Jizo Zelkova of Shougan Temple
That hollow at the bottom left continues up through. It's hollow the whole way. It's here that the original trunk seems to have been lost, but the bark continues vigorously.
#21 The Jizo Zelkova of Shougan Temple
A wee Jizo in the cleft. That it's not sporting a bib or a red hat is strange, but perhaps the children of this area have been happy and healthy and safe recently.
#21 The Jizo Zelkova of Shougan Temple
Or perhaps pilgrims have just opted to only dress the larger statue.
#21 The Jizo Zelkova of Shougan Temple
This is definitely an extraordinary tree.

It is said that long ago, a mother and child died together in the hollow of this tree. One hopes that their souls have found some comfort through the mercy of Jizo. Indeed, this tree’s name came about from a very sad event.