Tuesday, February 20, 2024

The Forest at Oyamazumi Shrine in Sechibaru


This Oyamazumi Shrine is located in Seechibaru Town in the high country north of Sasebo, and is one of several Oyamazumi shrines in the region.

Oyamatsumi was an older brother to Amaterasu and Susano and there are many shrines for him across Japan, the most famous being the one on Omishima Island which has the greatest collection of samurai armour and weapons in Japan in its collection.

What makes this particular local shrine of interest is the forest environment around it which is a rare example of old-growth forest in Japan.

It was designated a Natural Monument in 1972 primarily because it is home to a stand of Japanese Chinquapin trees, Castanopsis cuspidata, a tree related to Beech and Oak, it is an evergreen with edible nuts that grows to 20 to 30 meters in height. Covering less than 3 acres, is is very biodiverse with many other species of trees, both evergreen and deciduous, as well as numerous bushes and smaller plants including a rare fern.

Called Tsuburajii in Japanese, the dead wood of the Japanese Chinquapin is one of the best hosts for shiitake mushrooms and is actually the origin of the word shiitake itself. a combination of the Japanese kanji for tsuburajii(椎)  and take (mushroom)(茸).

The previous post was on Saikoji Temple which lies across the mountain in the valley I had walked up. I was now heading down the valley to the next pilgrimage temple.


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