HISTORY

Goshinboku, the Sacred Trees / 御神木

2012.10.12 [HISTORY,WHAT'S NEW]

Goshinboku, the Sacred Trees / 御神木

All over Japan you will find large trees, with a platted rice straw rope wrapped around it’s trunk,
and often small pieces of folded paper dangling in the breeze from this rope. Although many of these
rope belted trees are found within shrines and temple grounds, they can also be found along major
roads and within parks as well. Many such trees have grown naturally, however memorial trees,
planted in memory of a historical personage, are not unusual.

 

 

Written as Honorable (Go) Sacred (Shin) Tree (boku) these particular revered trees are known as
“Goshinboku”, or God Trees, and indicate the spots where the divinities descended to Earth. Many
of these huge trees inspire awe just at their obvious advanced age, their sheer size, multiple tens
of meters high, with trunk girths also in the many meters.

 

 

Those found within shrine grounds are (revered) as a religious artifact, and are considered part of
the shrine itself. Not only trees, sometimes large rocks and monuments are accorded similar respect.?
Within the grounds of the most holy Ise Jingu Grand Shrine, over 20 such trees have been designated
as Goshinboku.

 

The sacred trees vary in type, such as Chinquapin, ceder, pine amongst many other native to Japan
species. As such, some of these revered trees are occasionally used in the construction of important
shrines.

 

 

 

 


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