潮山神社の銀杏（Ushioyama Shrine Ginko biloba）
推定樹齢（Estimated Age） 800年（years）
The grounds of Ushioyama Shrine are home to a variety of lovely trees. Along with this ginko biloba, you will find a large Japanese fir, and rows of Japanese cedars lining the shrine path. Japanese horse chestnut, Japanese wing nut, and katsura are also represented. Char swim in the mountain stream that flows alongside the path, and in summertime fireflies dance in the twilight.
Ushioyama Jinja Shrine is dedicated to Futsunushi no Mikoto, the Shinto deity of swords. The Kannon statue now housed at nearby Terashita Kannon Temple was originally located here, before its removal when Buddhism and Shintoism were separated by government mandate in the Meiji era (1868–1912). An enormous ginkgo tree (Ginkgo biloba) stands in the shrine precincts. In autumn the tree’s leaves turn bright yellow, and create a “golden carpet” around the shrine when they fall.
The stone pillar near the shrine sanctuary is a kyozuka, or sutra mound, erected by Settai Soseki, a retainer of the lord of Hachinohe, to bring peace to the dead and prosperity to the living. Underneath the pillar are stones painted with different Chinese characters from Buddhist sutras. Fifteen such monuments have been found in the area.
Inside the pavilion-like structure next to the nearby stream is a pool of water used in a fortune-telling ritual. Believers place a coin on top of a piece of paper and make a wish as they float it on the water’s surface. If the paper sinks, it is thought that the wish will come true.
The path beyond Ushioyama Jinja heads uphill past the former site of a five-tiered pagoda to Tomyodo Temple at the top of the hill.