A news article from Japan Probe (click on the JP link to see videos).
About 70,000 pine trees once stood along the beach in that area. The tsunami knocked them all down, except for that one tree.
“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.
Although the tree was not knocked down by the tsunami, there is a danger that inundation by salt water could kill the tree. Measures are being taken to prevent this from happening.