The Big Cedars of Omiwa are located in Tamozawa, Kanayama Town, Mogami County, Yamagata prefecture. They were originally planted for lumber.
The cedars, up to 128, are some of the biggest cultivated trees of their kind in Japan. They were first planted as saplings back in the Edo period, probably in 1764, making them about 230 years old.
Mogami district has much snow in winter. In May 2006, there was such a heavy snowfall that six trees were bent by the weight of snow. As a result, these six trees, all of them over 250 years old, were cut down.
To see such enormous trees felled was overwhelming, particularly because two of the trees were 50m tall with trunks 80cm in circumference. Their immensity was a living demonstration of history.
Ono Temple belongs to the Muroji Shingon Sect of Buddhism and is located in Muro-ku, Uda, in Nara Prefecture. The temple's sango title is Mt Yoryu.
Ono Temple is a branch temple of Muro Temple and, because of its location west of this, it was also called the 'West Gate of Muro Temple'. The temple was built by Enno Gyoja in 681. In 824, Kukai built a saya and named it Jisonin Miroku Temple, but it came to be called Ono Temple after its location.
The Miroku Gesho Senkoku Daimagaibutsu, seen carved on the Byobugaura on the opposite shore by the Uda River, was carved in 1207 by a mason named Inoyukisue from Song Dynasty China; it is the largest Senkoku Daimagaibutsu in Japan.
Trees within the precinct of the temple include the large 'benishidare' (a type of cherry) growing here in rows, as well as the 300-year-old giant 'koitoedatare' (another type of cherry), which blossoms beautifully in the spring.
Takamahiko Shrine is located on the hillside of Mt Kongo of Gose in Nara Prefecture. It enshrines the deity Takamisubi no Mikoto (also called Takamahiko no Kami), which is known as the ancient god of the Katsuragi clan.
Mt Shirakumonomine (694m) is worshiped as a sacred mountain. In legend, it is a place where gods descend.
Beside the pathway to the shrine, there are many gigantic cedars that give the atmosphere of old Japan. One of the trees along the pathway is named Oshukubai Tree after a story about a priest. The priest was grieving over the death of a young child, when a falconine flew onto the tree and sang a song for the priest. In spring the tree bursts into beautiful bloom.
Near the Kurobe Tateyama Alpine Route, on Beech Plain (Bundadaira), there is a giant tree known as the Tateyama Cedar. This tree has been designated by the Forestry Agency as one of Japan's 100 giant trees.
Though it is not so tall at 21m, it has a trunk with a girth of 9.4m. Tateyama cedars are so-called 'stand cedars': low in height but with thick trunks. Whether the Tateyama Cedar on Beech Plain is one tree or two grown into one is uncertain. The presence of this tree, however, is overwhelming, and there is an eerie atmosphere around it, as if a spirit lived within it.
The best way to approach the Tateyama Cedar is from the natural observation pass from Bijo Plain at the entrance of Midagahara Plateau to Bunazaka. You will see other cedars as well as the Tateyama Cedar. So many wonderful cedars together with beeches give a marvellous sense of the natural richness of this forest.
The Giant Aphananthe of Mukumoto is located in Geinou-chou, Angei County, Mie Prefecture, and has been designated as a National Natural Monument. As old as 1500 years, the giant aphananthe tree is more than 18 meters high and has a trunk circumference of 8 meters. It is the largest tree in Japan after the Mikazuki-no-muku located in Hyogo Prefecture.
Long ago, there used to be a larger trunk on the northern face of the tree, but it was blown off in strong winds during the Meiji period. Because of this, the trunk is currently only half of what it used to be. The circumference of the trunk at that time is said to have been more than 14 meters.
During the reign of Emperor Saga (809~822), it is said that when Taizen Nozoe and his son, both subjects of the Sei-Taishogun (General) Sakanoue-no-Tamuramaro, were wandering along the Ise Road, they came upon this land, where they found a giant aphananthe tree. They dwelt here temporarily in a tea hut they built right under the tree.
The trunk, which has grown and thickened over many hundreds of years and has its own strong vitality, gives the observer a strong impression and a sense of a mysterious stately presence
Ohtsubaki, a giant camellia tree in Oidani, Toyama Prefecture, stands in woodland on a hill between a gorge, deep within an old valley.
At its largest point, the trunk of the tree is 3.87m in circumference, and is said to be the largest tree of its kind in Japan. The branches of the tree spread out 7.9m east to west, and 11m north to south. The area of the tree, including the branches, is said to be 51m2 in total.
The sight of the tree with its branches extending in all directions and toward the sky is simply overwhelming, while the twists and turns of its branches seem to have been made by a tree spirit's enchantment. There is an old legend explaining the bizarre shapes of the branches. Long ago, a samurai serving at Ikeda Castle, was beheaded under a false accusation. His wife died of sadness. Instead of making a tomb for them both, a seed from a camellia tree was planted and grew strangely at an immense speed. Its branches crisscrossed ferociously as if it bitterly resented the lord of Ikeda Castle. However, after the fall of the castle, the tree stopped growing, taking the shape it has today.
Sakishimasuo-no-ki is a kind of tree with buttress roots. The biggest tree of this kind in Japan can be found in Haimi, near the town of Taketomi in Okinawa Prefecture.
Trees of this type (Sterculiaceae mangrove) are native to places such as Amami, Ishigaki and the Iriomote Islands.
Because the ground is usually soft, the buttress roots grow out to support the growing tree because the roots only go 20cm deep into the ground. In former times, people used to cut the roots and use them as helms for boats.
Sakishimasuo-no-ki means 'the suo tree of the Saki Islands'; the Saki Islands is the general name for the islands south of the main island of Okinawa, and 'suo' is a tall leguminous deciduous tree.
The sakishimasuo-no-ki in Taketomi is 18m high and 2.9m round the trunk. There are 15 buttress roots of varying sizes making it a very impressive tree with a dominating presence.