Tag Archives: Nikko Shrine

The Giant Trees of Tochigi: #11 The Giant Cryptomeria of Nikko Shrine

#11 The Giant Cryptomeria of Nikko Shrine
What might I find at the end of this path?

Number: 11
Name: The Giant Cryptomeria of Nikko Shrine (日光神社のスギ)
Type: Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
Height: 30m
Trunk Circumference: 6.6m
Age: unknown
Location:栃木県足利市名草中町 (36° 23′ 40″N 139° 28′ 31″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-7-25

#11 The Giant Cryptomeria of Nikko Shrine
What might I find at the top of these stairs, for that matter?

Nikko Shrine is located 8km north of Central Ashikaga, along Prefectural Road 218 (The Nagusa-Omata Line), on the right bank of the Nagusa River.

#11 The Giant Cryptomeria of Nikko Shrine
Here is the shrine.

This Sacred Tree is on the left once you climb the stone steps to the top. The main shrine building lies to your right. Because it lies a short distance from the main shrine, you may not specifically notice it as you visit, but once you’ve finished praying and turn back from the shrine, you can’t help but notice it standing there, waiting.

#11 The Giant Cryptomeria of Nikko Shrine
Oh, there it is.

As it has grown, this tree has branched into five trunks, though one of them is a bit spindly, so you can be forgiven for only noticing four. There is the possibility that this is a case of several trees growing together at the base, which, as we have seen, is something that often happens with cryptomeria, but I’m not entirely convinced in this case.

#11 The Giant Cryptomeria of Nikko Shrine
You can see how the left one has no foliage.

The information board says that the foliage shows the tree is full of vigour. I would not necessarily go quite that far. If you look, of the many trunks, only one has a good amount of foliage, and one has none whatsoever. The information board was erected in 昭和55年 (1980) though, so things do age in 30 years. I know!

#11 The Giant Cryptomeria of Nikko Shrine

Still, a tree that seems to be quite old, and one that is as large as this, it’s not unusual to lack needles at any time. It’s not unusual to shed trunks at any time. But when I see this tree standing here at this time, it’s not unusual to hear me sigh.

The Giant Trees of Tochigi #26: The Fruitful Year Cryptomeria

#26 The Fruitful Year Cryptomeria

Number: 26
Name: The Fruitful Year Cryptomeria (豊年杉)
Type: Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica)
Height: 40m
Trunk Circumference: 10.1m
Age: unknown
Location: 栃木県鹿沼市上粕尾 (36° 34′ 29″N 139° 32′ 25″E)
Date of Visit: 2012-4-28

Along Prefectural Road 15 (The Kanuma-Ashio Line), in the village around Kamikasuo Elementary School, the giant cryptomeria called The Fruitful Year Cryptomeria stands.

It stands beside the parking lot of the Shrine Office for the nearby Nikko Shrine. Though it’s right beside the prefectural road, you cannot see it from there, nor can you access it directly from there, though one’s navi does not know this.

Above is the tree as you can see it from the Shrine Office. This is “front” of the tree, I guess.

#26 The Fruitful Year Cryptomeria

Here is the tree from the opposite side.

Though the base is one tree, here once again it is more than one tree which have grown together at the base. This seems to be a common growth habit for cryptomeria, or, at least the cryptomeria in Kanuma.

One can see here and there traces of burning on the trunk’s surface.

I stopped a passerby and asked about the burning. It wasn’t, as I thought, lightning damage, but rather, 20 or 30 years ago some children climbed inside the hollow of the tree and were playing with fire. Surely those kids must have been incredibly worried after the fire, and must have been ever so relieved that the tree didn’t die.

#26 The Fruitful Year Cryptomeria

The steel plates you can see on the back of the tree aren’t there solely to prevent rot (as they so often are in trees this size and age), but moreso to prevent mischievous children from causing trouble inside the tree again, I think.