Remains of ‘miraculous’ tree that survived Japan’s 3/11 disaster go on display in Tokyo

The stump and root network of the “miraculous lone pine” that survived the Great East Japan Earthquake in Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate Prefecture, is evoking memories of the disaster at a special exhibition that opened Friday at Kioi-Seido in Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo.

Prior to the massive quake and tsunami on March 2011, Rikuzen-Takata was home to a forest of about 70,000 pines that stretched along the city’s Takatamatsubara coastline, known as a beauty spot.

The tsunami washed away all but one of the trees, which was subsequently dubbed the “miraculous lone pine.”

The tree withered to death the following year, but the city decided to preserve the stump and root network — measuring about 2 meters high and 10 meters wide — in a storage facility.

Architect Hiroshi Naito, professor emeritus at the University of Tokyo, planned the special exhibition to help prevent memories of the calamity from fading.

A 76-year-old company executive visiting from Urayasu, Chiba Prefecture, said: “I’m amazed that only a single tree managed to survive. I think it’s really good to preserve the tree in this way so future generations will be reminded of the disaster.”

The exhibition is scheduled to run until Feb. 9, 2023. To visit the exhibition, advance reservations through (only in Japanese) are required. Admission is free.