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.
The Kubo cherry tree is one of a group of 1200-year-old trees in Isazawa, Nagai City, Yamagata prefecture.
By the grounds of the Isazawa Elementary School stands the splendid Edohigan cherry tree, which has been designated as a National Natural Treasure. Its branches reach 9m around and it is 16m tall. Its total length of branches was reputed to have been 63m some 150 years ago.
The name of the Kubo cherry tree comes from the old name of this district. The Kubo cherry tree is also called the Otama cherry tree. Sakanoue-no-Tamuramaro, the Barbarian-Subduing Generalissimo, visited this district and fell in love with a girl named Otama. But after returning to his native land, he received the news that she had died of grief for him. Missing her, he had his followers plant cherry trees near her grave. These cherry trees are said to be the origin of the Kubo cherry tree. Perhaps even now, she still loves him and makes the cherry tree blossom each year.
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.
Big Cedar is a tree in Small-Cedar district, and is near the village of Sakegawa, in Mogami County, Yamagata prefecture.
Although the great cedar tree might look like a couple of trees, it is in fact a single tree standing among paddy fields. Its base is 6.3m in circumference and it is 20m tall. It is said to be more than 1000 years old.
Because it has two big trunks, it is also called the 'Couple Cedar' or 'Marriage-Tie Cedar'. In addition, owing to its resemblance to a tree seen in the movie, 'Tonari-no-Totoro', it has lately gained more fame and come to be called 'Totoro's tree'.
The tree is venerated by the village and a mountain deity has been enshrined at its base.
Usually, a cedar tree tends to grow narrow and high in order to get more sunshine and survive. But, because there has been nothing other than rice fields around the tree, it has leisurely spread out to receive much sunshine.
Big Katsura is the name of a giant Japanese judas tree on Mt. Gongen, near Mogami in Yamagata prefecture.
The tree is 19.2m in circumference and 40m tall. It is hundreds of years old and is one of the biggest katsura in Japan according to the Ministry of the Environment.
The main trunk is complicated by many knots. Some 2m above the ground, it divides into about seven trunks. Many people have named the figure it creates as a 'dragon' because the various trunks resemble the scales and face of a dragon.
The center of the trunk is hollow and can completely hold one person. It is said that pottery fired in nearby kilns was stored here in old times.
There is a large sign saying: 'Big Katsura of Mt. Gonsen' at the entrance of the forest road. It takes about 45 minutes to walk from the entrance to the tree on the hillside.
At the nearby Mogami River Shirakawa Mountain Stream Park, you can camp and enjoy the nature around you