The Sacred Tree of Takeo Shrine (Takeo's Okusu Tree)
Hours: On view 24 hours a day
Over 3000 years old, this camphor tree is the 7th largest tree in Japan. It is 30m tall with a trunk circumference of 20m, its branches span 30m wide from east to west, and 33m wide from north to south. This is the sacred tree of Takeo Shrine, which was built in the Nara period (735 CE). The roots of the tree resemble the feet of elephants and are wrapped in rough bark, with their central section split open near the surface of the ground. Inside is a gaping cavity with an area of 12 tatami mats, which houses a stone shrine deep within.
When the garden was built towards the end of the Edo period (1845 CE), efforts were made to find the path connecting the garden to the sacred tree based on the theory that one was hidden in the forest of Mifuneyama Rakuen. A footpath made from stones was finally uncovered. Currently, only the section of the path near the entrance is being maintained, and visitors can only enter near this entrance.