A cedar said to be 1,000 years old has been crowned Japan’s tallest tree after modern measuring equipment confirmed the living giant in a state-owned forest near Kyoto was almost twice as tall as previously thought.
The Forestry Agency confirmed one of the “three cedars of Hanase” stands 62.3 meters tall, eclipsing a 59.6-meter-tall cedar in Shinshiro, Aichi Prefecture. Another of the Hanase cedars was recorded as being 60.7 meters tall, placing it second on the list of Japan’s tallest trees. The three Hanase cedars are connected at their base.
The tree had previously been estimated at about 35 meters tall. But in 2016, a local office of the agency used a drone to check the tree and calculated it to be more than 60 meters tall. An expert using laser measuring equipment later confirmed the tree’s true height. According to The Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, the other cedar in the Hanase trio was found to be 57.2 meters tall, big enough for fifth spot in Japan.
The agency confirmed the tree’s status as Japan’s tallest in late November 2017.
The Yomiuri Shimbun newspaper quoted a spokesman of the local office as saying, “The many tall trees in the vicinity apparently protected the cedars from strong winds and from lightning.”
Located in a mountain forest about 30 kilometers north of central Kyoto, the “three cedars of Hanase” are said to be 1,000 years old and have long been revered as sacred by nearby Bujoji temple, which was founded in the 12th century.
The office director suggested the new record could soon come under threat.
“There are many huge trees whose height has not been accurately measured, so I hope confirmation of the three cedars’ height will prompt more trees to be measured in other areas,” The Kyoto Shimbun quoted the director as saying.