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Meiji Shrine forest

Best Places to Enjoy Shirin-yoku in Tokyo

Japan is considered to be one of the most heavily forested countries in the world. There is about 62.3 million acres of woods in Japan. Forests covers two-thirds of the country’s mountainous regions. In Japan, there is a practice known as Shinrin-yoku (森林浴) literally meaning “forest bath” – a practice of “bathing” in nature with the purpose of receiving therapeutic benefits. It combines a range of activities in an outdoor environment such as horticultural therapy and garden therapy. The practice began in Japan in the 1980’s and was coined by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The popularity of shinrin-yoku has since spread around the world.

Akigawa Valley

Akigawa Valley

Check out some places for taking in nature:

Akigawa Valley – The natural gorge in Akiruno city with its breathtaking scenic stretch is an ideal place to relax your senses. The valley is filled with cherry blossoms during spring and beautiful autumn colors during fall. Forest bathing can be enjoyed all year round with the seasonal colors and lush greenery. The terrain is easily accessible by children and beginner hikers. Ishibune Bridge leading to Seoto-no Yu, a spa facility makes it a bonus when pampering yourself.

Meiji Shrine – also known as Meiji Jingu , it is one of the most important shrines in Tokyo. The vast evergreen forest (700,000 sq.m. or about 175 acres) that surrounds it is a favorite place to visit.  When the shrine was built, approximately 120,000 trees of 365 species were donated by people from all over Japan.  Visitors to Meiji Jingu can stroll down the forest paths and relax beneath the canopy of trees. It is easy to forget the hectic pace of Tokyo while within the Meiji Jingu grounds.

Mt. Takao

Mt. Takao

Mt. Takao – the mountain stands at 599 meters (1,965 ft) tall and is conveniently located only about an hour from downtown Tokyo. Visitors can choose from eight hiking trails to the summit. The Tama Forest Science Garden, at the base of the mountain, is an experimental forest and an arboretum.

Todoroki Valley Park – is in the middle of the densely populated Setagaya city ward within Tokyo. It’s a lush one-kilometer walking trail that leads through a wooded valley along Yazawa River. It takes only a short 20 to 30 minutes to walk through the magical trail away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Along the path you’ll pass by a few shrines, two waterfalls and even a secluded tea house that serves traditional Japanese sweets amidst the tranquil surroundings.



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Read all about Japanese immersion learning and studying abroad. Check out our eZasshi archives for more articles!