Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The Big Cycad

I can't count the number of times I have driven past the sign in Hiji which points towards "The Big Cycad" and almost laughed. To be honest I really didn't even know what a Cycad was - it sounded like something from outerspace to me and the urge to go and see a big one had never really got to a point where I was tempted to turn off and get out of the car. But we had a day to spare while Dad was here and my sister, Megan, had told us that it was definitely worth a look so we headed off to check out the biggest cycad in Japan. It turns out a cycad is a kind of tree and that this particular one is 650 years old. The tree itself is pretty impressive, but the gardens around the temple and the man working there who was happy to chat for ages made the trip well worth it.
The temple is a family clan temple which began in 1603 and has a good representation of the influence of other countries on the history of Japan. I can't remember all the details, but there were magnifying glasses, different kinds of pottery etc. from different countries as well as the Japanese adaptions of them. Out the back there was also a bit of a surprise - a graveyard with absolutely enormous "graves". They are the graves of the Kinoshita clan and look a little like things from a mythical land.
Another nice morning out and another nice discovery. Of course it helped that yet again there were no other people around to spoil the peace and quiet.

1 comment:

  1. Exactly the same as you in thinking was something weird and out of space sounding. A big tree aye? Thats something I can cross off my list of 'I wonder what that actually is'.