Instead of growing upward, the trunk of this tree divides into three, and each part then spreads out horizontally as if it were creeping over the ground. Thought to be some 300 years old, the black pine spreads 17 meters east-west and 24 meters north-south, and it's not difficult to see why people of old saw in its singular form images of "Japanese dragons striving to grab a cloud and ascend to heaven". Eian-ji Temple was built as a shrine to Sukedayu Shibata, who was executed after calling for the release of local people from "sukegoyaku", a kind of enforced heavy labor imposed on commoners during the Edo period. Today, maybe the dragons of the pine are watching over the townspeople in Sukedayu's stead...
※ Views like the one shown in the photo can only be seen under certain conditions (time of day, weather etc.).
Be careful not to miss this sight on your way through, as it is a small temple hidden away in a residential area. While you can see Unryu no Matsu spreading its branches all over the precincts of the shrine at any hour, a daytime visit is best if you want to see it clearly, since there's no special illumination after dark.
The pleasure of travel: Eian-ji Temple
[wide area map]
updated on Mar 31, 2015