Expert: Hope yet for Kamakura’s treasured tree felled by winds

YOKOHAMA (Kyodo) A botanical expert pinned his hopes Friday on the revival of a giant ginkgo tree knocked down by gusts earlier this week at the compound of Tsurugaoka Hachimangu Shrine in Kamakura, Kanagawa Prefecture.

“There’s a chance (the tree may revive), although there are still uncertain factors,” said Chikayasu Hamano, a professor at Tokyo University of Agriculture.

The shrine has asked Hamano to conduct on-site research to determine whether the 30-meter, estimated 1,000-year-old tree can be revived.

According to Hamano, the broken trunk may produce new roots if it is kept sanitized and dried properly. The shrine said it will follow his advice.

The giant ginkgo tree, designated as Kanagawa Prefecture’s natural treasure, was felled predawn Wednesday apparently by strong winds blowing in the area.

Legend from the Kamakura Period in the 12th century says an assassin who ambushed Minamoto no Sanetomo — the third shogun of the shogunate — in 1219 hid behind the tree.