Name: The Giant Cryptomeria of Kumano Shrine (熊野神社のスギ)
Type: Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
Trunk Circumference: 6.4m
Location: 栃木県鹿沼市下永野山際 (36° 29′ 12″N 139° 37′ 06″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-4-30
If you turn off Prefectural Road 15 south onto Prefectural Road 32 (The Tochigi-Kasuo Line), after a long climb, a reasonably long tunnel, and a long descent, you’ll find yourself in the community of Yamagiwa.
On the north edge of the community, at the base of a hill, you’ll find Kumano Shrine.
The Giant Cryptomeria is on the left side of the stone steps up to the shrine. Coming out of the ground, it’s a single trunk, but like so many cryptomeria in Kanuma, it splits partway up. Is this just a forked tree, or is it a union of two trees? There’s another tree there too. It seems like it probably started life around the same time.
If you look about, there’s a small concrete storehouse with the name “Oosugi Shrine” (大杉神社, “Large Cryptomeria Shrine”) written on it. What is this about? I guess this is the big cryptomeria in the name. There’s no shimenawa on this tree, there’s no information board or post like many large trees, there was no one about to ask, so in the end, it’s still a mystery to me.