Shinrin-yoku, better referred to in the western world as timberland washing, is a type of nature treatment that started in Japan. It assists with soothing pressure while giving an assortment of mental and physical medical advantages by drenching yourself in nature. It doesn’t require really washing, yet a basic stroll through the backwoods and these timberlands offer probably the most amazing spots to attempt it.
#1 Daintree Rainforest, Australia
Located on the north-east coast of Australia, spilling down to deserted tropical beaches, the Daintree Forest is one of the world’s most spectacular, offering the opportunity to immerse yourself in a biodiversity hotspot that’s home to 90 percent of the country’s bat and butterfly species. Easily accessed from Cairns, Port Douglas and Cooktown, take a self-guided stroll on the rainforest boardwalks or head out to Mossman Gorge with an Aboriginal guide, learning about the native medicinal plants and spiritual customs along the way. Be sure to keep an eye out for the elusive and rarely spotted cassowary – if you see one, the locals say it’s time to buy a lottery ticket.
#2 Great Bear Rainforest, British Columbia
The last remaining vast expanse of coastal temperate rainforest in the world, British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest covers over 16 million acres. It’s filled with ancient cedars, moss-framed waterfalls and the rare Kermode bear, or Spirit bear as it’s known by the local Tsimshian people who consider it sacred. There are less than 400 of the animals left on Earth so if you hope to see one, the best way to do so is with a guide. Some of the other wildlife to watch for includes everything from Sitka deer to grizzly bears and mountain goats, while treks along the coast bring opportunities to see humpback and orca whales, sea otters and sea lions.
#3 Glendalough – Wicklow National Park, Ireland
Just 11 percent of Ireland is covered in forest, but what it does have makes up for the lack by providing stunning natural beauty. Glendalough in Wicklow National Forest offers one of the most beautiful forest walks you’ll find, following the Green Road Trail along the lower lake. Mostly flat terrain, it features glistening silver birch, willow and alder trees while offering exceptional views of the Glendalough Valley and the famous round tower from the Glendalough Monastery.
#4 Routeburn Track, New Zealand
Take the Routeburn Track in Fjordland and Mount Aspiring national parks on New Zealand’s breathtaking South Island and you’ll cross a swing bridge that leads to beech forest and the Routeburn Gorge. Easily accessed from Queenstown, the 20-mile-long route boasts some of the country’s most renowned scenery, with towering mountain peaks, hanging glaciers, wide valleys, turquoise rivers and sparkling lakes. It may be the world’s most ultimate place for forest bathing.
#5 Black Forest, Germany
The Black Forest was named for its canopy that’s so dense there is little light that gets through making it look black. The deep-green woodland draped across the granite and sandstone mountains in Baden-Württemberg is believed to have inspired many of the Brothers Grim fairytales. Well-marked trails for hiking will bring you through the pristine, nearly untouched landscape while feeling as if you’re part of a storybook yourself.
#6 Redwood National and State Parks, California
A must-see in California, the Redwood National and State Parks sit along California’s northern coast protecting nearly half of the world’s remaining coast redwood old-growth forests. There are lots of trails to enjoy forest bathing while immersed among the giants. Stroll the easy 1.4-mile trail through Lady Bird Johnson-Forest that winds over flat ground through a beautiful ridge top grove in Redwood National Park, or hit the 12-mile loop in Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. One of the most scenic, it boasts soaring stands of old-growth redwoods, a fern-lined canyon, and a wild, sandy coastline too.