Kayashima: The Japanese Train Station Built Around A “Mystical” 700 Year Old Tree

It’s amazing how even in this day and age of science people are still this superstitious. Usually, this kind of mythological superstition doesn’t bid well at the end (evil witches anyone?), but this story of a train station built around a 700-year-old tree has nothing but good vibes to it.

photo by Studio Ohana

The Kayashima station is located in the Northeast suburbs of Osaka, Japan, and an astonishing testimony to how the coexistence of man and nature is possible. The station is popular for its main attraction, the giant camphor tree that lies at the center of the station and stretches out through a hole in the platform.

Photos by Mizuo Watanabe/Asahi

The legend has it had the Kayashima station opened close to the camphor tree in 1910. However, after 60 years, the boom in population meant that the station had to be expanded, thus the expansion work began in 1972. The only problem was that according to the plans, the mammoth tree had to be cut down to make way for the new structure.

photo by Studio Ohana

Why was that a problem? Shouldn’t it be easy peasy to cut an old tree away within a few minutes? Not quite! Folklore has it that anyone who came to cut down the tree incurred its wrath and faced some dire consequences. The tree became “angry” and consequently unfortunate events befalling anyone who dared to harm it. A person who cut a branch off suffered from a very high fever the very next day.

photo by Studio Ohana

Another day a white snake was seen wrapped around the tree, intimidating enough to deter anyone from coming close. Some even saw smoke rise from the tree’s base, as it got “angrier.”

Kayashima Station in 1968, 4 years before plans to cut it down (photo via “me de miru neyagawashi no hyakunen)

And so to avoid all the ruckus, the official decided to keep the tree intact and build the new elevated platform around it. The construction resumed in 1973 construction and was finally completed in 1980. Today, the station even has a small shrine to honor the tree while the 700-year-old deity tree stands tall and strong.

photo by Studio Ohana

 

 

Maybe we need some snake bearing, smoke spewing trees today as well to stem the crazy deforestation!

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