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Juniperus chinensis L. 白槇 Byakushin

I visited Kenchoji in Kamakura with my grandparents. In front of the Main Hall of Kenchoji Temple are seven huge juniper (chinensis) trees, they are said to have been planted by Priest Rankei, the founding priest who brought the seeds from China. They are thought to be more than 730 years old, one of them is as high as 13 meters and the root diameter is roughly two meters. The Temple has an ancient sketch map of the old Kenchoji drawn in 1331 by a carpenter, which, meanwhile, shows the trees were really right here. In 1986 and 1993, excavations were made in the Kenchoji grounds. The result verified the old Kenchoji was precisely as shown in the ancient illustration, meaning Byakushin existed there at least in 1331. In Kamakura, there are reportedly 20 old junipers. Those in the Temple are the oldest, and designated as a Scenic Spot by the National Government.

More about Kenchoji here.

— Jan 6, 2007


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