Keep Calm and Go Forest Bathing

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Keep Calm and Go Forest Bathing
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What is forest bathing? Forest bathing is a state where you spend your time in the forest by walking, meditating and to breathe in the fresh air. It is totally the opposite of hiking, mountain climbing, and other adventurous activities. Forest bathing lets you take your time enjoying the green scenery, avoid doing extreme sports and to switch off your electronic devices throughout your time here. The main objective of forest bathing is to make you feel calm and to reduce stress.

Since we spent most of our time in the office, one of the great ways to end your misery is by forest bathing. In addition, this activity has plenty of benefits such as reducing blood pressure, anxiety and to improve one’s mood.

In Japan, they called forest bathing as shinrin-yoku. Shinrin means forest, while, yoku means bath. Shinrin-yoku is considered to be very effective and one of the favourable activities for locals and tourists to partake in. You can either go alone or join a guided tour. Some of the activities you can do are like yoga, meditating, and forest walking. As of today, over 60 locations in Japan have been selected as forest bathing sites. Put your stress on hold and take a one day detour to one of these forest bathing sites.


Yakushima National Park

Located in Kyushu region, Yakushima National Park is one of the popular forests to visit because of several factors. This is a great place for you to forest bathing because it is mostly covered in nothing but nature. In 1993, Yakushima National Park was listed in the Natural World Heritage Site. Three courses to be explored in the park are Yakusugi Land, Shiratani Unsui-Kyo Gorge, and Jomon Sugi.

Image Source: Japan National Tourism Organization.

The national park is home to the 7,000 years old cedar tree which is the Jomon Sugi. It is named as world’s oldest cedar tree when it was discovered in the 1960s. To reach this place, you need to hike almost nine to ten hours as it is situated at the highest peak of Yakushima Island. But, the hiking trail to Jomon Sugi is absolutely beautiful as you get to walk along an old railway track. Do not climb this peak alone as it is very challenging. Alternatively, you can join guided tour available at Yakushima Geographic Tour website. Although this activity is somewhat contradicting the purpose of forest bathing, you can opt for this hike if you love a little adventure.

Image Source: Ministry of the Environment Government of Japan.

On top of that, one of the areas in the park was an inspiration for an animated film, Princess Mononoke. Wilson Stump is also one of the sites you should check out because if you walk underneath the course, you will see a cut edge shaped like a heart. Overall, Yakushima National Park is a nice place for forest bathing because it is rich in nature.

Image Source: Atlas Obscura.

Yakushima National Park

Address: 2077-37 Miyanoura, Yakushima-cho, Kumage-gun 891-4205, Kagoshima Prefecture

Operating Hours: 9:00AM – 5:00PM

Admission Fees: ¥300 (Yakusugi Land), ¥300 (Shiratani Unsui-kyo Gorge)

Contact Number: +81 997-42-2727

Access: By ferry from Kagoshima Main Port


Akagi Nature Park

Facing the scenery of Mount Asama, this forest bathing site is a habitat for many plants and flowers. Akagi Nature Park consists of three main areas which are the Saison Garden, Four Seasons Forest, and Natural Ecosystem Forest. The walking trails are blanketed with tree barks which are very soft to step on. Therefore, you will have no problem walking for hours in the park.

Image Source: Visit Gunma.

Saison Garden comprises rhododendron flowers in most areas such as in Rhododendron Valley, Rhododendron Garden, and at the Lookout Point. Accompanied by beautiful flowers, walk along the small river stream and enjoy a nice quiet time at the Grass Square.

Image Source: Akagi Shizenen Official Website.

At the second area of the park, The Four Seasons Forest consists of gardens of wildflowers like Glaucidium Palmatum. This flower will only reach its moment when it covers the whole ground during summertime. Other than that, this area is dedicated to relaxation as they built several tree houses and also a gazebo.

Image Source: Akagi Shizenen Official Website.

As for the Natural Ecosystem Forest, it concentrates on various species of rare insects, for instance, the Japanese Rhinoceros Beetle, Whirligig Beetle, and dragonflies. Besides that, if you go to the Butterfly Field, you will be welcomed with gillyflowers, clovers, and golden lace flowers. Another activity you can do here is the Forest Therapy Trial Course. They will take you on a walking tour around the park. The trail is not as extreme as it is made for people to fully enjoy their forest bathing time.

Furthermore, this place is wheelchairs and strollers friendly. Their easy walking path is very suitable for disabled people and families with babies.

Akagi Nature Park

Address: 892 Minami Akagisan, Akagi-machi, Shibukawa-shi, Gunma-ken 379-1113

Operating Hours: 9:00AM – 4:30PM

Admission Fees: ¥1,000 (Adult), Free (Children & Disable People), ¥500 (Groups of 20 people or more)

Contact Number: 0279-56-5211

Closest Train Station: JR Shibukawa Station

Official Website: https://akagishizenen.jp/english/


Bijin Bayashi Forest

Identified as the most beautiful forest in Japan, Bijin Bayashi is packed with Japanese beech trees. Bijin Bayashi means ‘forest of beautiful women’ due to its unique structure that is shaped like a woman’s figure. The forest is perfect for those who want to enjoy nature without needing to hike or climb. Inside the forest, you will come across several birds’ species like Oriental dollar bird and the Ruddy Kingfisher.

Image Source: Vocalonation on Flickr/CC by 2.0

As you walk along the pathway, you will see a small pond with a wooden bridge that spans to a farther part of the forest. The trees are all standing at 35 meters high and have been around the forest for almost 90 years. The best time to see beech trees is during summer when the leaves and grass are green. During winter, snow will cover up most grounds but still provide you with the best scenery.

Image Source: Ozu Ken on Instagram.

Bijin Bayashi Forest

Address: Matsunoyama Matsuguchi, Tokamachi 942-1411, Niigata Prefecture

Admission Fees: Free

Contact Number: 025-596- 3011

Closest Train Station: Hoku-Hoku Line Matsudai Station

Website: http://www.tokamachishikankou.jp/en/nature/

Forest bathing is one of the recommended things to do in Japan. Rejuvenate yourself and live a stress-free life by taking a short walk amongst the nature by forest bathing at any parks or forest near you.

 

JAPAN WALKER SEA Editorial Team
JAPAN WALKER SEA Editorial Team
A fun-loving group of editorial team on the mission to introduce Japanese culture and lifestyle to the masses.

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