2015.1.12
Ehime Imabari

Still Alive after 3,000 Years! The Living Gate “Ikiki no Gomon”

Miyaura in Omishima-cho, Imabari city, Ehime prefecture.

On the route leading to the inner sanctuary of the Buddhist temple attached to the Oyamazumi Shrine, there is a remarkably large tree known as ‘Ikiki no Gomon’.

With a root circumference of around 30 meters, this massive tree is 3,000 years old. It has been designated as an Ehime prefecture natural monument.

The tree's name means 'gate made from a living tree' ('ikiru' = live, 'ki' = tree, 'mon' = gate). In ancient times, people would pass under the tree on their way to visit the inner sanctuary.

So, without further ado, allow us to introduce a tree that continues to live on even after an eternity, Ikiki no Gomon.

Its location is on the road next to the purifying stream that flows around Oyamaizumi Shrine. As instructed by the guidepost, we head towards the mountain. 

 

 

 

After walking for around 10 minutes, you can see a remarkably large camphor tree.
There is a sign set right next to the tree, so you'll be able to find it right away.

It's almost like a forest.

 

 

Originally it was only a single camphor tree trunk, but at some point it divided into two, and the root became a natural pathway. It is high enough for an adult to pass through without any trouble, and in olden times people would pass through to go to the inner sanctuary.

 

 

This is what it looks like when you pass through.

 

 

And this is what it looks when you peek inside.
It's almost like a cave.

 

 

Since ancient times, the location has been connected with belief in longevity. Indeed, it is said that one will live long if one passes through here.

There are fortune slips tied on the branches.

 

 

Many branches look almost like snakes…

Just by standing next to the tree, it feels almost as if you are receiving power.
While protecting the people, this is a tree that has seen the changing of the ages from the Yayoi period (300 BC to AD 300) to today.

If this tree could talk, I would like to hear about the history it has seen.

You can feel both strength and kindness from this tree…
The gate of the living tree "Ikiki no Gomon", it's a spot you'll want to visit at least once if you come to the Shimanami Sea Route area.

 

 

Ikiki-no-Mon:

Location: Miyaura, Omishima-cho, Imabari City, Ehime Prefecture
Contact: Tel (0897) 82-0500 (with fee (Connects to Imabari City Hall, Omishima office, Industries & Construction Section)
Parking: Unavailable (Free parking for 50 cars at Fuji Koen Park)
URL: http://iyokannet.jp/front/spot/detail/place_id/3323/ (Japanese, other information available on English site)
 

Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Maki Ohashi

 

 

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Maki Ohashi

Maki Ohashi

Maki Ohashi From Imabari city, Ehime prefecture. When Maki was in school, she started getting interested in regional revitalization. Since then, she has been interested in revitalizing her own hometown into a more globally recognized tourism destination. Through her career as an announcer, she is now working for a free magazine company in Ehime. As for her lifework, Maki enjoys researching local history and legends. She would like to dig deeper into the history and legends of her area, and is planning to introduce some of them on Setouchi Finder, too! https://www.facebook.com/Girlsjyunrei

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