Sunday, September 9, 2018

The 620 Year Old Wisteria Tree of Kurogi (Yame City, Fukuoka Prefecture)

You have to respect something that has seen the world for 620 years, right? Like this Wisteria (Fuji) tree in the town of Kurogi. The village has put up a torii in honor of this tree. It has survived earthquakes, wars, typhoons. floods, and economic recessions (hah!) I just wanted to touch its bark and sort of  "shake its hands". It was an honor to have met you, Mr. Wisteria Tree. 

The Wiki page about the tree talks more about it. In this town called Kurogi, a 20-minute drive east of central Yame,  a Wisteria Tree Festival is annually celebrated between mid-April and early May, adjusted to coincide with the blooming of the giant wisteria tree located on the Susano Shrine grounds. 

The tree is said to be 620 years old. Its scaffolding area has a total area of 3,000 square meters (32,290 square feet). Its longest flower clusters measure 150 centimeters (60 inches). 

The giant wisteria was awarded Government-Designated Protected Species in 1928. The government of Kyushu has given this recognition to only two plants; the other one is in at the Miyazaki Jingu Shrine (Miyazaki Prefecture). The festival fills the surroundings with stalls selling food and local products. Meanwhile, a sake brewery in the town opens its doors to the public for tours. 

From Yame, it was a leisurely drive through a tunnel to get to Kurogi. The tree stands in the midst of Susano Shrine, thus you will find the torii near the stairs that lead to it. There's a wooden fence that limits people from getting too near to the tree. Was I able to touch its bark as planned? Nah. And I understand why it isn't recommended. People do have the tendency to destroy wherever they lay their hands on.

But here's a prayer. That it survives another 620 years for my children's children to see.

Tunnel to Kurogi
Fukuoka trains arrive in Chikugo's Hainuzuka Station, then travel about 20 minutes to Yame, and another 20 minutes to Kurogi.
Yame Map

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