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'Sunken forest' appears anew as snowmelt fills lake

May 17. 2020
The "sunken forest" at Shirakawa Dam in Iide, Yamagata Prefecture, Japan. MUST CREDIT: The Yomiuri Shimbun
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By Syndication Washington Post, Japan News-Yomiuri · No Author · WORLD, ASIA-PACIFIC 

IIDE, Yamagata - The annual spectacle of a "sunken forest" has appeared in a lake at Shirakawa Dam in Iide, Yamagata Prefecture, creating a beautiful contrast of fresh green and the reflected blue sky on the water. 

The impressive sight is only available at this time of year, as the shiroyanagi willows that grow in clusters at the lakeside are submerged in meltwater from snow, which raises the water level of the lake. 

According to the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry's Shirakawa Dam management branch office, the willows began to be submerged in the water around late March. The water level is expected to gradually fall in the days ahead as the meltwater decreases. 

Usually many people would enjoy rowing out in canoes and kayaks to enjoy the fantastic scenery. But the request by the management branch office to refrain from engaging in leisure activities on the lake to prevent the spread of the coronavirus infection was in place as of Friday. 

On Thursday, shiroyanagi leaves were seen fluttering in the wind coursing over the deserted lake.

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