Shoboji’s Legendary Gingko Tree at Shoboji Temple, Iwadono, Higashimatsuyama ( previously Hatoyama)
Previously I wrote about a summer drive we took in the Hatoyama and Higashimatsuyama area where I saw the most impressive gingko tree I’ve ever seen. Last Autumn we revisited the area to witness the famed Autumn colours in the area. And to see the gingko tree in its golden glory.
Shoboji’s legendary gingko tree
The famed and revered gingko tree at Shoboji temple is approximately 700 years old. It is a designated municipal natural monument.
From what I can make on the monument pictured above the gingko trees at the shrine were initially planted in commeration of a kasa completion within the shrine.
The trunk’s circumference is just short of 11 meters and it is approximately 31 meters high. The tree is so tall it is hard to get a photo with the whole thing in. I have yet to be able to do so.
I have always had a love of trees, particularly the roots which completely mesmerise me. So when I first saw the legendary gingko tree at Shoboji I was instantly captivated. Have you ever seen roots like these?
Shoboji’s gingko tree has informally been listed on some “best three” lists for gingko trees. It is not the oldest, maybe not even the biggest, but it is certainly extraordinary. A bit of research revealed that the relic was actually formed from several trees merging into one other. Which makes the tree even more remarkable and enchanting. Furthermore, you will notice that the tree is incredibly perched on top of a large slab as you can see in the photos above (taken out of autumn leaf season).
Shoboji’s Legendary 31 meter high Gingko Tree at Shōbōji Temple Higashimatsuyama attracts tourists, worshippers, photographers and even artists as you can see in this picture. On one of our visits there in 2016, there was a band filming a music video.
I have read that the temple is a power spot, but I think the tree plays more to the supernatural feeling of the area. The temple has been damaged by fire a number of times over its 1,300 years, but the 700 year old tree has miraculously remained unscathed for the most part.
Best time to see Shoboji’s Gingko Tree
If you want to see the tree at its most resplendent the best time is usually November through the first week of December. If you want to see the ground covered in a carpet of gold, its best to wait until the latter – the first week of December.
On the grounds of the temple there is a small playground with swings and bars that children can play with. You can incorporate a visit to this magnificent tree and the equally awing temple with a visit to one of the nearby child friendly attractions:
Saitama Children’s Zoo
The Peace Museum
Shoboji’s Legendary Gingko Tree Information
Hours: 8.30 am to 5 pm in the summer, 8.30 am to 4 pm in the winter.
Charge: FREE access and free parking
Shoboji’s Gingko tree information on Higashimatsuyama City’s website
You can read more about the temple in English here.
Shoboji Temple is on the same road that the main entrance to the zoo is on, route 212, past Daito Bunka University if you are coming from the direction of downtown Higashimatsuyama going toward Hatoyama. If you are coming by bus you can get the bus to this University from Takasaka station on the Tobu Tojo Line and walk 10 minutes to the temple and tree.
There is a small car park above the temple: you walk down a hill and through a tunnel to get to the temple. Or if you park in the larger car park fo Monomiyama Park you can walk down a series of steps to the temple and the tree.