Name: The Giant Ginkgo of Jouzou Temple (浄蔵寺の大イチョウ)
Type: Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba)
Trunk Circumference: 11m
Age: >300 years
Location: 群馬県太田市堀口町 (36° 15′ 11″N 139° 19′ 40″E)
Date of Visit: 2013-03-23
Jouzou Temple is a Shingon Buddhist temple established in the Kamakura period. It’s southeast of the main town of Oshima (now a part of Ota City).
Nowadays, the Tone River (利根川) flows about 1.5km south of here, but it used to flow to the west of here. The present day Haya River is a trace of that former route.
According to temple lore, in Genkou 3 (元弘３年, 1333 CE) (Shokei 2, 正慶2年, if you prefer Northern Court era names, but then you’d be wrong because the Northern Court did not possess the regalia BUT I AM RAMBLING), Nitta Yoshisada (新田義貞), on his way to attack Kamakura, before crossing the Tone River, he and his troops stopped at this temple to rest and to pray for victory.
At that time, this tree wasn’t yet here, I don’t think. Nevertheless, it does command a view of the old road.
Its trunk has suffered some lightning damage, apparently. Despite that, the tree appears to be in great health with all the tiny twigs everywhere. By the way, this is a male tree, so it doesn’t fruit.