An aerial view of coastal Rikuzentakata, Iwate Prefecture, where the preserved “miracle pine tree” and devastated youth hostel stand (Video by Kazuhiro Nagashima and Shingo Kuzutani)

RIKUZENTAKATA, Iwate Prefecture--A vast pine forest that had all but one tree swept away by the 2011 tsunami is on the road to recovery.

The sole tree that managed to survive when about 70,000 other pines were wiped out was dubbed the “miracle pine tree” in the Takata Matsubara forest.

The pine eventually died due to being effectively poisoned by seawater, but a carbon rod was inserted into its core, parts of it were chemically preserved and the reinforced memorial tree was erected back into place in June 2013.

About 1,250 pine saplings will also be planted in the area, allowing the city of Rikuzentakata to take another step toward reconstruction.

In January, a 12.5-meter-high seawall spanning 2 kilometers along the coast was largely completed. Construction to build a memorial park nearby is set to begin soon, which will become home to a facility dedicated to victims of the devastation triggered by the Great East Japan Earthquake and tsunami.

The remnants of a youth hostel in the area that was destroyed in the tsunami will also be preserved to remind visitors of the disaster.

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