Giant Tree Hunt in Hokkaido #2

As I mentioned I enjoy finding big trees on googlemap, I went to the following point when I had to go out to the east Hokkaido.

Toyotomi elm stands alone at the roadside in Bihoro town, the northwestern part of Lake Kussharo. Toyotomi elm is 550 years old and greatly conspicuous surrounded by vast farmland.

It is designated as a preserved tree by the town of Bihoro in 1977. Although a part of bark is peeling, the tree appears to have been well cared.

550 years ago, Japan was at the height of the samurai era. It is said that Kyoto was burnt to the ground during this time, by the Painting depicting a battle during the Ōnin War. Toyotomi elm is approximately same age with the painting below.

Painting depicting a battle during the Ōnin War

Bihoro town was settled by Japanese around 1887. When the area was settled, trees growing in the area were completely deforested to clear land for developing farmland. People cut down and dag their roots up, leaving no trace of native forest. Toyotomi elm had survived such time because it was standing on the footpath of farmland. Also, when the road was laid out, so it was not cut down because it was on the shoulder of the road. It was likely that it was destined to survive.

Seven star tree in Biei

Do you know Biei town? It is a vast hilly area with farmlands, and the standing trees scattered here and there are very popular among photographers. The avobe photo is famous oak tree that was once used on the packaging of cigarette “Seven star.”

In comparison, the abundance of Toyotomi elm is somewhat bleak, but the impact of the giant trees that suddenly appear is tremendous. I had this place as my destination from the beginning, but it would be quite a surprise if I found it in passing, wouldn’t it?

A nameless roadside tree may become a giant tree in 100 or 200 years if it is lucky enough to survive. This makes a long drive more enjoyable, searching for giant trees candidates


Photo credit: https://www.biei-hokkaido.jp/ja/sightseeing/sevn-stars-tree/


Nami