Saturday, February 16, 2008

The world's longest tree-lined road

Located on the eastern edge of the historical city of Nikko, Imaichi contains a cedar-lined road (namiki kaido) that has been certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s longest. Lined by some 13,000 cedar trees, the Nikko, Reiheishi, and Aizunishi roads wind a total distance of 37 kilometers on their way to Nikko Toshogu Shrine.

These trees date back to the days of the Shogunate, when Matsudaira Masatsuna, a retainer of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, had over 200,000 cedars plated over a 20-year period in the shrine's honor.

Many the trees standing today bear witness to their long and eventful history. One tree is still scarred by a cannonball fired during the Boshin War (1868–1869). Another, nicknamed "Nikko Namiki Taro," is considered the largest and most beautiful of all. "Sakura Sugi" (Cherry Pine) contains a wild cherry tree that grew out of a crack in its bark and which blooms magnificently in springtime.

The Nikko Cedar Avenue (Nikko Suginami Kaido) leading to Toshogu Shrine.

—Mellow Monk

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