At about 500 years old, standing at 20 meters tall and a base 4.5 meters wide, this sacred tree is the oldest Shii tree in the garden. There are two types of "Shii" trees in Japan: "Sudajii" and "Tsubarajii". "Sudajii" is the type that grows to be massive and lives for hundreds of years, with an average lifespan of around 300 years. At 500 years old, this sacred tree is well on its way to outliving the average Sudajii tree twice over.
In addition to their sacred power, the Shii trees also serve a very practical purpose in gardens and shrines. Because of their high water density, Shii trees are often used to protect against fires. This one even survived the Bombing of Tokyo. Acorns also come from Shii trees, a popular nut since ancient times. Shii trees also appear in the oldest collection of classic Japanese poetry, the Man'yōshū.
“No matter how late or early, I'll be waiting for you. There's no doubt that I will meet you someday, like the twigs of the Shii in the mountain.”
This thick, leafy tree has been observing its passersby on this Earth for over 500 years. Watching people in search of Wabi-Sabi, admiring the vivid camellia, chasing after fireflies, and cooling off at the waterfall... This great tree has been here all along and is always looking forward to greeting the next visitor. Perhaps it was your visit that the sacred tree has been waiting for all this time.