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Nature's royal couple at peace in quiet winter beech forest

13 2 5

I was surrounded by gigantic gnarled beech trees, and I felt their spirits were stirring to speak to me.

I was paying my respects to the "king" and the "queen" of these peculiarly gnarled trees that locals call "agariko" in a beech forest last month at the base of Mount Chokai in Nikaho, Akita Prefecture, near the Yamagata border.

A new footpath opened in the forest this year between "Agariko Daio" (King Agariko) and "Agariko Jyo-o" (Queen Agariko), which are about a 30-minute hike apart.

The standard image associated with beech trees is their straight, towering trunks. But in the marshland on the north side of Mount Chokai, the trees have........

© The Asahi Shimbun