Have you heard about forest bathing? The Japanese tradition of “shinrin-yoku” is a mindful practice of feeling a sense of peace while in nature. Forest bathing is a soothing practice to feel our connection to the earth and ourselves, simply from the act of a slow walk in the woods.
Sound dreamy? This restorative, simple tradition for the soul has boasted many wellness benefits – from improving mood, energy, focus and immune functioning and reducing stress and blood pressure.
As forest bathing grows in popularity, it’s important to remember that any green space is an excellent setting to practice this tradition. But, for the dreamers out there, we’ve curated a list of some of our favorite worldwide destinations we’d love to practice shinrin-yoku. Here are 9 dreamy destinations for forest bathing from around the globe.
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Japan
The western district of Kyoto’s dense bamboo forests house many zen Buddhist temples in their quarters. Sound like a dream? That’s because it pretty much is. The sunlight trickles through the long, stemmed bamboo trees and the sound of the clinking woods as the wind flows is otherworldly. Be sure to come early in the morning to find some peace and solitude.
Black Forest, Germany
The mystery and intrigue of the Black Forest is reason enough to book a trip to Germany – but adding the element of forest bathing is a perfect excuse to wander through the beloved, baffling forest.
Humbolt Redwoods State Park, California
The great, giant Redwoods would make any person feel small – but there’s a real sense of peacefulness that comes from dwelling in their presence. Sometimes, all you need is some perspective to realize just how metaphorically and physically small your problems are.
Olympic National Park, Washington
The tall fir trees that dot Olympic National Park tower over forest bathers basking in the dappled light from above. Washington’s only temperate rainforest is home to some incredible greenery – from ferns, moss, spruces, maples, and lots of moisture from its many inches of rain it collects.
The Highlands, Scotland
The mountains and pine forests of Scotland’s wild Highlands are a mysterious landscape, perfect for mindful practice.
Crooked Forest, Poland
Poland’s Krzywy Las forest is a mystery. No one really knows the real reason behind the curvy trunks of the trees. No matter what caused their strange growth patterns, the Crooked Forest is unlike any forest in the world. Find yourself exploring the strange phenomenon and be transformed by its oddity.
Na Pali Coast State Park, Hawaii
The clifftop trails of Na Pali Coast State Park are the perfect place for island goers to escape to.
Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee
The 816 square miles of trees and rivers, rolling fields and dense forests that encompass the Great Smoky Mountains are a delight for hikers and forest bathers alike. A morning walk within the national park will reveal incredible wildlife and peace of mind.
Giant Forest Sequoia National Park, California
Named after John Muir, Giant Forest in California has the largest collection of enormous sequoia trees in the world. To walk through them is like a homage to the epic beauty of this world. Travelers who take part in forest bathing here should not miss the General Sherman, the largest living being on earth by volume.