NIPPON Kichi - 日本吉

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2007/1/23


今山田の大カツラ Imayamadano-ookatsura The Giant Katsura Tree in Imayamada

Jp En

One of Toyama prefecture's designated natural treasures is a giant katsura tree that stands by a road leading to the village of Tonami. The circumference of the tree's branches is 13.9 meters. There are two major trunks: the western one has rings that measure 2.8m around; the eastern one has rings that measure 2.7m around.

The tree, entangled by Japanese ivy and vine, is presumed to be 700 years old, and has such a commanding presence it seems to be possessed by a divine spirit. The tree gleams gold when the spring leaves come out, and lets the people of Tonami district know roughly when the rice-planting season begins.

Moreover, there is a camellia growing behind the katsura that is over 400 years old. Both the katsura and the camellia have been nurtured as symbols of the village. In addition, they are both designated as Cultural Assets of Yamada Village. The katsura and the camellia, which have both lived settled and calm lives, still stand and look tenderly over the village.
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老谷の大ツバキ Oidani-no-ohtsubaki The Giant Camellia Tree of Oidani

Jp En

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.
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"Nippon-kichi" leads you to places, people and things that reveal a certain Japanese aesthetic.

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