After my last Shinrin-yoku private session which took place at Okutama Town near Tokyo, I traveled to a hotel near my next destination, which in fact turned out to be the highlight of my entire trip. I stayed overnight very near the Chiba University campus where Dr. Yoshifumi Miyazaki works has a professor and leads the Nature Therapy Laboratory at the Center for Environment, Health and Field Sciences.
A dream come true! Meeting the world-renowned and pioneer on Shinrin Yoku research. He started his Shinrin-yoku research as far back as 1990, focused on the physiological benefits of forest bathing. In 2003 after finding so much evidence of these benefits, backed by his research, Dr. Miyazaki coined himself the term “Forest Therapy”, now so well-known and used around the world.
Dr. Miyazaki agreed to receive me in his office at 11:00 am. I had breakfast very early after almost not able to sleep much in anticipation. I checked out of the hotel and took a taxi to the same train station where I arrived the evening before. It was still very early so I had the chance to find a locker for my luggage and walk around the area for a bit.
I was to meet with Dr. Miyasaki’s secretary at the train station’s lobby. The time finally came, it was quite easy to find me as I was probably the only westerner (again) at the station at that time.
A few minutes walk, we entered the Chiba University campus which has plenty of agriculturally workable land and open space, and you can see several fruit tree plantations around the just few buildings. I thought it was a sensible green space/concrete ratio for a campus hosting Dr. Miyazaki’s work.
I was led to a meeting room where Dr. Miyazaki and two of his staff members received me. Wow, what a moment. I wanted to pinch myself. We met for a whole hour, professor Miyazaki was very interested in our Forest Therapy center in Bavaria and I felt really proud answering all his questions. He had also prepared a binder with his published papers from the last decade to date. So very generous him.
At the end of the meeting I asked if I could take a picture, he graciously agreed and we went outside with his team, by a persimmon tree near the building where he works. Could not have been more appropriate to have a green background for our pictures.
I placed a framed photo in our office, with his business card which is made of a very thin slice of Hinoki cypress wood.
We highly recommend reading his book released in 2018:
“Shinrin-yoku: The Japanese Way of Forest Bathing for Health and Relaxation”
It is a great introduction to the world of Forest Bathing and Forest Therapy, with much information on his research and the revealing findings regarding physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku and nature therapy.