The previous post on Tokyo Fox was about a road going through a building and by pure chance it’s quite a unique situation in the east of Osaka city whereby a large camphor tree is growing in the middle of a train station platform!
Just ten minutes away (by semi-express train on the Keihan Main Line) from Kyobashi station in central Osaka is Kayashima station which was built around the tree. It does very much remind me of a cricket field in Canterbury (England) which has a lime tree on it near the boundary. That tree was fully grown in its location in 1847 (when it was planted is unknown) but that’s nothing compared to the tree at this station in Osaka.
It is estimated to be around 700 years old and it’s base has become a small shinto shrine (21-5 Kayashimahommachi, Neyagawa) complete with the usual things like red torii gates, lanterns, and lucky animal statues.
The tree is best viewed from platforms 3 and 4 where the coexistence of humanity and nature is best shown due to a strong, local community and a little bit of superstition too. Kayashima station opened way back in 1910 but a rise in population over the next six decades meant the station required expansion which would affect the tree right next to it.
Plans to expand the station were approved in 1972 and initially the tree was to be cut but, similar to stories in Tokyo of Masakado’s Grave and the former Anamori Inari Shrine, misfortune followed those who attempted to change the environment. After much local protest, station officials agreed to keep and incorporate the tree into the platform’s design. Construction work took seven years and finally finished in 1980.
I was expecting the tree to be at the end of the platform but it really is in the middle of the station and fenced off with a couple of ubiquitous vending machines in front of it on one side. With a gap in the roof of the platform I’d be interested to see what it’s like when it’s raining heavily and wonder how much protection people standing nearby get from the falling precipitation.
Visiting this station was actually all very spontaneous and a huge bonus for me on the back of my journey out to Owada station (one stop prior to Kayashima) to visit my friend Oki at Minayoshi Sushi restaurant. It was my third time to visit and no trip to Osaka now would be complete without a visit to see the king of vegetable carving. The blackboard outside his shop even incorporated a fox drawing into it to mark my arrival that day!
Inevitably most of our conversation was about Star Wars (particularly ‘The Star Wars Show‘ on the Star Wars YouTube channel which we are both big fans of) but of course there were other topics and after mentioning some of the unusual spots I’d been to that morning near Bentencho Station, he mentioned that the next station up from Owada had a huge tree in the middle of one of its platforms. I was of course very keen and just thought I’d go one stop in the wrong direction on my return to central Osaka. However, he very kindly offered to drive me there once I was done at his restaurant.
Click here to read ‘Black Ice Cream, Modern Architecture, Neon Lights & The Red Light District’