RIKUZENTAKATA, Iwate Prefecture--Once a famous scenic spot, all the pine trees of Takata Matsubara were flattened by the March 11 tsunami--except for one.
Among the shattered branches and other debris, the one resilient pine tree still standing is giving hope to residents of the city, which was devastated by the earthquake and tsunami.
"Pine is the symbol of Rikuzentakata. We are glad at least one tree survived," said an official at the Iwate Tourism Association. "We hope it will become a symbol of (the city's) recovery."
Takata Matsubara, a 2-kilometer sandy beach dotted with tens of thousands of pine trees, was one of the most popular scenic spots in Rikuzentakata, with 1.04 million tourists visiting last year, according to the association.
The pine trees were planted about 350 years ago as a shield against the sea air to protect agricultural produce.
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