Forest Bathing at the Meiji Shrine

If you missed my last post, where I shared my not so peachy moments, you’d know I was in need of some deep “me time” and reflection. I know that even though I personally don’t love nature, for some reason it still has a calming affect on me whenever I’m surrounded by nature. I was reading an article here, on the Japanese practice on ‘forest bathing’ and instantly connected to the description.

To battle my ruts, I decided one weekend to visit the Meiji Shrine in central Tokyo. It had been on my list of places to visit while here and I found I didn’t want to keep blowing it off because I honestly passed by the area so often. I’m glad I made the visit to the park a priority because I instantly felt a sense of calm and serenity as I entered into the park in which the shrine and grounds are located. 

As your average 20 something year old, I live with airbuds stuck in my ear and some podcast or song playing. I’m constantly tuned out and I found that back home, it may have been a coping mechanism against harassment on the street. However, here in Japan, listening to music popular in the states or podcasts I heard back home make me feel always connected to home and in that sense it’s still probably a defense mechanism against this new place but this may be a reach.

In any case, once I crossed over the archway leading into the park and looked toward the nicely forested pathway, I felt compelled to remove my airbuds and really connect to the space and the moment. As I walked the pathway my senses took over and you could feel how sacred the space was and could understand why Emperor Meiji and his wife Empress Shōken visited the area often. It was just the energy boost I needed!

Before I leave, I definitely will make it a priority to visit more parks and gardens in Japan and just in general. 

What do you think about the Japanese practice of forest bathing? Do you feel peace when strolling through green spaces or is it an allergy party waiting to happen?

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