Untapped Kumamoto

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Cedar of Lord Takamori(Takamori-don-no Sugi, 高森殿の杉) in Takamori Town, Power Spot with extraordinary-looking cedar and surrounding which is like a world of Ghibli film.

Have you heard of “パワースポット(power spots)”? If you are from abroad and traveling around Japan, you will likely come across the word at tours or in guidebooks. “Power spot” is a Japanese English and means a spiritual spot where you can feel in-tune with nature or surroundings.

In the past, power spot was called “弥盛成地(Iyashirochi)” which means a sacred, pure place where plants grow well. From ancient times, people have worshipped these spots and seen them as a subject of faith wishing for a bountiful harvest.

Japanese love visiting power spots. You can find many websites that introduce power spots not only in Japan but all around the world. At first it started as a trend but now it has become one genre of traveling for us.

Kumamoto is famous as a rich repository of power spots and it seems like most of them are in Aso area. It is no wonder because of the legacies which volcanic activities had left in Aso, such as Aso caldera, gorges and waterfalls. People have felt great power of nature and tried to feel in-tune with them.

Personally, I’m not that interested in power spots but when I looked up “power spots in Kumamoto”, I found out that I have already visited a lot and introduced you here in Untapped Kumamoto. 

For example,

上色見熊野座神社(Kamishikimi Kumanoimasu Shrine) in Takamori Town, Aso county

国造神社(Kokuzo Shrine) in Aso City

夫婦滝(Meoto Waterfall) in Minamioguni Town, Aso county

白糸の滝(Shiraito Waterfall) in Nishihara Village, Aso county

鍋ヶ滝(Nabegataki Waterfall) in Oguni Town, Aso county

不動岩(Fudou Rock) in Yamaga City

浮島(Ukishima Pond) in Kashima Town

And today, I’m going to introduce you another power spot, 高森殿の杉(Takamori-don-no Sugi) which is translated as “Cedar of Lord Takamori”. Cedar of Lord Takamori stands in Takamori Town, Aso county.

高森殿の杉(Takamori-don-no Sugi), Cedar of Lord Takamori

I visited there after I went to Kamishikimi Kumanoimasu Shrine which I introduced in the last article. 

Recently, the regulations have been relaxed and people started to come back to Aso. Aso is huge and there are many places to see and visit. If you have visited the northern part of Aso, such as Daikambo, Aso Shrine and Kurokawa Onsen area, why don’t you visit the southern Aso, like Minamiaso Village and Takamori Town? I hope after reading this article, you will be interested in southern Aso and you will visit them hopefully sometime soon.

Cedar of Lord Takamori(Takamori-don-no Sugi, 高森殿の杉) in Takamori Town 

History of the surrounding of Cedar of Lord Takamori(Takamori-don-no Sugi, 高森殿の杉)

Before introducing the cedar, I’d like to share the origin of “Cedar of Lord Takamori”. 

About 400 years ago, there was 高森城(Takamori Castle) in Takamori Area. The castle belonged to the Lord Takamori. During the period of the warring states(15-16th century), Shimazu army which wielded its power in 鹿児島県(Kagoshima Prefecture) invaded Takamori Area. They defeated Takamori army and captured his castle in the end. It is said that the Lord Takamori and his servant committed suicide at the place where the cedar stands.

Ruin of 高森城(Takamori Castle)
Source : https://cmeg.jp/w/castles/9568

There used to be their graves but they were transferred to 含蔵禅寺(Ganzozenji Temple) in Takamori Town and they rest in peace. 

含蔵禅寺(Ganzozenji Temple) in Takamori Town
➡️ http://takaramori.com/jp/spot/kanko_detail.cgi?up_spofo1=1019

Power Spot, Cedar of Lord Takamori(Takamori-don-no Sugi, 高森殿の杉) in Takamori Town

Grazing Land and Lovely Path to Cedar of Lord Takamori, things to know when you enter the land.

Now, let’s visit Cedar of Lord Takamori.

Cedar of Lord Takamori is not that famous so there is not a big sign. Still, you will see these signs so just follow them to the parking lot.

The surrounding of the cedar is grazing land. You will enjoy the beautiful scenery. You will see these cattle eating the fresh grass or just lying on it.  

The place on the left is a parking lot and from there, you can see cows closely.

The right side is an entrance of the cedar and there is a big sign. It is about the required attentions that graze land association notifies us before we go further.

It says

1. There are cattle grazing throughout the year. Do not bother them.

2. When you enter the area, disinfect your hands.

3. Enter through only from the fence right side of the gate.

4. Do not open the gate, just go through the fence.

Also they ask people not to enter if you have visited other farms on the same day or you come from a country that has disease infectious to domesticated animals within the past week.

Those are for protecting the graze land and cattle so we should respect them and follow their rules.

So as the sign says, I entered from the fence. There is a bottle of hand sanitizer so use it before passing through.

Once you enter it, you will see these lovely field spreading in front of you.

Here, you can see many seasonal wild flowers and hear birds singing.

Power Spot, Cedar of Lord Takamori(Takamori-don-no Sugi, 高森殿の杉), extraordinary-looking cedar and surrounding which is like a world of Ghibli film.

After walking on the path for a while, you will arrive this spot where the paved path is ended. If you look carefully on your left, there is an entrance of Cedar of Lord Takamori.

Very soon, you will meet this Cedar of Lord Takamori.

I was just stunned by it.

I don’t know how to express not just its look but also the atmosphere of the surrounding. I was in lovely countryside grass land and suddenly I was transferred to an another world. Some say this place is like it came straight out of a Ghibli film.

The first thing to catch your eyes must be this cedar on your left that trunk and branches extends out many ways extraordinarily.

Cedar of Lord Takamori consists of two trees, the left one with unique look and the right one standing upright. They are too big to capture in a photo! 

The cedar on the right.

The diameter of both tree trunks is about 10m and it is said they are over 400 years old.

These trees are designated as a natural monument of Takamori Town and have been protected. They put fence around the trees so you can’t cross and go into it. 

Some people express it as weird-looking and others say it is sacred and they can feel the power of nature.

So, how do you feel about this Cedar of Lord Takamori?

Visit Cedar of Lord Takamori(Takamori-don-no Sugi, 高森殿の杉) and feel the power of nature!

On the way back to the parking lot, you can enjoy this view of southern Aso area. 

As I said earlier, I’m not interested in focusing on “power spots” but I just realize that I often use the phrase “feel the power of nature” or “be immersed in the atmosphere”. I guess these ideas lies unconsciously but surely in me based on our history and the idea of 神道(Shintoism).

So now, I’m going to say these again. Visit Cedar of Lord Takamori and feel the power of nature. You will definitely be bewitched by this work of art that nature shows us.


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テーマの著者 Anders Norén
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