Witness the wonders of wellness in Japan
In a fast-paced world, the concept of wellness has become popular in our efforts to obtain a better quality of life. It reminds us to slow down and appreciate the importance of calming the body and mind to realize what truly makes us feel happy. Incorporating various types of wellness in their travels has become a favored choice for many. Traveling in Japan and enjoying its natural beauty and stunning scenery can be a relaxing experience in itself. However, there are also lots of ample options to help you unwind and center your thoughts. You can do things such as Zen meditation, bathe in hot springs, etc., and set some time aside for wellness during your trip that can be a great way to truly get back in sync with yourself.
Wellness - add a power boost to your trip
Japan is a country with a long history of recognizing the importance of not only physical health, but also that of a calm and balanced mind. Hence, there is no shortage of relaxing and wellness-centered experiences that can easily be incorporated into your travel plans. From meditation and yoga to forest therapy and healthy eating, these mind-healing concepts combined with Japan's breathtaking nature and eye-pleasing aesthetics will make sure you go home fully refreshed and recharged.
Many aspects of Japanese culture are rooted in, or greatly influenced by Zen Buddhism. Buddhism was introduced to Japan around the 6th century, and Zen Buddhism is a well-known school of this religion where meditation is used as a practice to reach self-realization and enlightenment.
Practicing meditation has many health benefits and can help improve sleep, ease the symptoms of depression and anxiety, reduce stress, and even relieve pain. One of the most common types of meditation in Japan is called zazen, or seated meditation, and is often practiced in groups.
One of the best ways to experience zazen is by joining a Zen meditation session led by a monk at one of Japan's temples. Many temples offer this experience. A few of these include Zenkoji Temple in the mountainous region of Nagano. To fully immerse yourself in the ascetic Buddhist lifestyle, try staying overnight at shukubo (temple lodgings).
Yoga and other styles of meditation
Yoga is well known for its positive effects on both the body and the mind. In a country blessed with rugged mountains, lush forests and four distinct seasons, co-existing and living in harmony with nature has always been important to Japanese people. Practicing yoga in pristine natural surroundings can have an even more powerful effect on your mental well-being, and Japan offers some pretty unique experiences in this category. Some of these include paddleboarding combined with yoga in the rolling dunes of Japan's only desert and a serene morning yoga session with panoramic views of the dramatic peaks of one of the country's most interesting volcanic areas, Aso.
Forest bathing, or forest therapy, is the simple act of spending time in nature to relax one's mind In Japan, it has become a popular activity to reduce the symptoms of stress and anxiety, as well as improve sleep quality and the ability to focus.
With 67% of its land area covered by majestic forests, Japan offers ample opportunities for everyone to try forest therapy as no specific skill set is required. Forest bathing doesn't necessarily involve hiking, running or climbing. You can walk, stand, or even sit as you take in the soothing views of lush greenery, the sound of chirping birds and babbling brooks, and the smell of moss and wet leaves. A great place to try forest bathing for first-timers is in Nagano's Shinanomachi , where a forest healing trainer will help you choose between various activities for an experience that will leave you feeling rejuvenated.
Onsen (hot springs)
Situated on the western edge of the so-called “Ring of Fire,” Japan is one of the most tectonically active places in the world. For this reason, there is an abundance of onsen (hot springs) throughout the country. Since ancient times, the Japanese people have soaked in the steaming water for its therapeutic qualities, and entire towns have evolved around some of the most popular onsen. Read here to learn more about how to enjoy onsen in Japan.
Relaxing in a hot spring has numerous health benefits such as soothing aching muscles (onsen work wonders after a long day of hiking or skiing), promoting deep sleep, and improving blood circulation. On top of this, many hot springs contain minerals with different healing properties. Toji, or hot spring bathing as a medical treatment, has been practiced in Japan for centuries.
No two onsen are the same, and there's a wide variety of different types of baths. You will find anything from public foot baths to open-air baths with stunning views to fragrant cypress tree tubs, and even the opportunity to get buried in onsen-steamed sand. For a thorough guide to bath types and bathing etiquette, read more here .
* The information on this page may be subject to change due to COVID-19.