One morning a few weeks after I moved to Japan, I explored a park, downtown Kyoto. At first, my intention was only to check that park off of my list of places to see. If you have been to Kyoto before, there are endless number of places to see and things to do from indulging in Japanese street food at Nishiki market, Geisha spotting to practicing zen meditation. So, you could imagine I was in a bit of a rush to do as many things as I could on that day.
Most of the people visiting the park and the famous Yasaka shrine right in front of it were tourists wearing rental yukata. It was a busy day. In fact, every day is a busy day. Wandering aimlessly, trying to avoid the crowd, I went uphill, deeper into the park. The chatter faded and I was welcome with the soothing sound rustling leaves instead.
As I looked up I saw these captivating trees. The morning sunlight accentuated how green the leaves were. I remember that was when I decided to scrap my other plans. I just stayed there, stared at the tree in awe and embraced the summer breeze on my face. I thought to myself here was my new chapter in Japan, the country the language of which was so foreign to me.
I didn’t know what Forest Bathing was then. But in retrospect, all my senses and whole being were engaged. I was paying attention to the details and I was savoring the moments.
Then, I walked uphill, away from the shopping area minutes from where I was. I ended up discovering trails that even the locals don’t know about. This is a network of trails that will lead one to many different parts of Kyoto if you keep walking.
These trails later became where I regularly practiced Forest Bathing and one of the paths I shared Forest Bathing practice with my clients visiting Kyoto. In a way, it was the beginning of The Mindful Tourist, the Forest Bathing training center Milena and I are operating now.
Today marks my 4th year of practicing Forest Bathing and I hope to be able to share this secret trail with you.
Written by Pin Chinnapat
TMT Founder and Managing Director
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