Toyokoro elm lit up amid the darkness

On December 24, the Tourism Association of the town of Toyokoro in the Tokachi region of eastern Hokkaido illuminated the town’s symbolic Japanese elm tree with nine floodlights. The elm, which appears as a ‘beautiful goddess’ in Ainu mythology, appeared amid the darkness.

In the ‘Kotan Seibutsuki 1’ (Ainu natural history book) (written by Sarashina Genzo and Sarashina Ko; published by Hosei University Press), the elm – known as cikisani in Ainu – is described as follows: “The gods stretched their necks from the heavens to seek the form of this beautiful goddess.” Cikisani means ‘fire-making tree,’ and was indispensable for daily life.
On the evening of the 24th, the elm in Toyokoro – which is said to be approximately 150 years old – was illuminated to the delight of photo enthusiasts who had gathered there. Mr. Urashima, a resident of the city of Obihiro and a Toyokoro town tourism ambassador who served hot coffee to the visitors at the site, said, “It must be the first time the 150-year-old elm has been in the limelight. I’m sure it’s very happy.”
The elm was also illuminated from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on December 25.

A family viewing the elm, beautifully illuminated in the darkness


The elm in Toyokoro