Name: The Jizo Zelkova of Shougan Temple (勝願寺の地蔵けやき)
Type: Japanese Zelkova (Zelkowa serrata)
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
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.
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.
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.