lifestyle

Shinrin-Yoku: The Japanese art of forest bathing

10 Comments
By Christy Anne Jones

If we've learned anything from watching Studio Ghibli films, it's that forests are enchanting, peaceful places full of magic and natural wonder... But did you know that spending time in forests can have an immensely positive effect on both your psychological and physical health?

Shinrin-yoku (森林浴)—which literally translates to “forest bath”—is the Japanese practice of “bathing” oneself in nature with the intention of receiving therapeutic benefits. Beginning in Japan in the 1980s (the word itself was coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1982), the practice of shinrin-yoku has since spread widely across the planet—there is now a wide range of guided tours operating within Japan and all over the world that teach the benefits of forest therapy.

The actual practice of shinrin-yoku is very simple: take a few hours out of your busy life, head to a densely forested area, and let the trees do the rest:

Research conducted across 24 different forests in Japan shows that spending time in forest environments can reduce concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, increase parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve energy.

Simply put: spending time in nature can be good for your physiological and psychological well being compared to spending time in city environments. While the outcomes of shinrin-yoku studies have been, at times, a little inconsistent, there’s nothing wrong with taking a few hours out to get back to nature.

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5 places to try Shinrin-Yoku near Tokyo

Tokyo, the world’s most populous metropolitan area, is not necessarily known for its abundance of pristine, untouched forestry. While you won’t find a Ghiblistyle natural wonderland nestled discretely between Shinjuku and Shibuya, there are at least a few places in and around the city that can help you get back to nature. Here are a few of the smaller havens within the city limits, plus a few lovely locations further out, that can help you escape the hustle and bustle and find a moment of peace to practice shinrin-yoku. 

Click here to read more.

© Savvy Tokyo

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

10 Comments
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Otherwise known in the West as a walk in the woods.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

Why does everything have to be an “art” in japan?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

Otherwise known in the West as a walk in the woods.

exactly. something done everywhere

Why does everything have to be an “art” in japan?

because everything is made more complicated here.

Tokyo, the world’s most populous metropolitan area, is not necessarily known for its abundance of pristine, untouched forestry. While you won’t find a Ghiblistyle natural wonderland nestled discretely between Shinjuku and Shibuya, there are at least a few places in and around the city that can help you get back to nature. 

Tokyo borders Yamanashi and Chichibu, Saitama- both are amazing places to experience nature.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Yes, walking in the woods always feels good. Love hydrangeas.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

If we've learned anything from watching Studio Ghibli films, it's that forests are enchanting, peaceful places full of magic and natural wonder...

My vote for shoehorned cultural reference of the week!

the word itself was coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in 1982

To build on Vince's point, the article claims there is an "art" of doing something invented for promotional purposes by the government. Is there an art of other government things? Radio taisou? Cool Biz? Premium Friday?

5 ( +5 / -0 )

As much as I love being out in nature, Japanese forests in July are dens of mosquitoes and ridiculous humidity. Maybe wait for the autumn.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Forests are unquestionably beautiful, but precautions must be taken. There are any number of dangerous animals, including bears, lions, snakes, eagles, alligators, and coyotes. I heard of a case of a man being killed by mosquitoes, in Alaska. In Lapland there are eagles that get so big that they kill small deer and even children, if the locals are to be believed. Every year someone gets killed by an alligator here in the States. And don't forget the poisonous plants. Yes, forests are indeed beautiful, but take precautions appropriate to the location.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I am the product of a society where nature is well integrated in people's lives, including those of city dwellers. The dominant color in both urban and rural landscapes is green, whereas in Japan it is so often gray. So "Shinrin-yoku" is a concept I really don't appreciate.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

please tell me where the forest above the headline is and i will practice my "art of shinrin-yoku" right there.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That shinrin yoku may serve you to recover from the 2 hours (more?) hateful trip needed to finally see some green emerge from the Tokyo-crete scene...but you'll be pissed off again as soon as you enter the - overly crowded!! - woods, you know...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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