Heavy Rain Brings Down Sacred Tree At Gifu Shrine

Heavy rain brings down sacred tree at Gifu shrine

Heavy rain has toppled an ancient cedar tree at a shrine in Gifu Prefecture, central Japan.

The 40-meter-tall tree fell over on Saturday at Shinmei Shrine, cutting off power, damaging the roof of a nearby house and blocking a road.

Local residents say the "goshinboku," or sacred tree, was about 1,300 years old and had been designated by the prefecture as a natural monument. It had a circumference of 11 meters.

The city's board of education says the tree was a symbol of the Okute-juku station of the Nakasendo, an inland route that used to connect Kyoto with Edo, or modern-day Tokyo.

On Sunday morning, workers removed the section of the tree that was blocking the road. They also repaired an electric cable.

The parishioners' representative, Kino Nobuyuki, says he is very sorry the local community has lost the tree that people were so proud of.