Forest Bathing in Japan

When Laura and I were sweating out the mid-summer heat in SE Asia, dreaming up what was to become Moveable Feast Retreats and pounding more iced americanos than I care to count, one of the founding principles of our budding heart project was that every country and culture has its own innate wisdom on how to live well. There are beautiful and and subtle concepts that exist in every corner of this world and if we take a moment to listen, we can be inspired for the rest of our lives.

Japan is a country rich in living well. It’s a place of contradictions — the same culture that brought you the austere peacefulness of zen buddhism also brought you the frenetic energy of Shibuya, Tokyo. From black and white minimalism to color-drenched maximalism, Japan has it all.

In other words, for every moment in Japan that looked like this…


There was another that felt like this…


Japan put Shinrin Yoku in my back pocket. It translates to “forest bathing” and is considered preventative medicine. What’s a forest bath? It’s leaving the city, finding a winding trail where the trees canopy overhead, where you can take a deep breath, a step away, and contemplate the more meaningful things in life. It’s the antidote to the adrenal fatigue ailing our busy urban centers.

Our shinrin yoku in Japan took us to the forests of deer-filled Nara and the other-worldly bamboo grove of Kyoto.

Now, back in the PNW, whenever Seattle traffic has my gripping the steering wheel tighter than I need to, I now know the perfect medicine and it’s right in our backyard.

Where’s your favorite place to shinrin yoku?