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Akasawa Natural Recreation Forest


©Agematsu Town Tourism Association  

HOME > Japan’s Local Treasures > Akasawa Natural Recreation Forest


An outdoor experience among historic Kiso cypress trees

Agematsu Town Tourism Association


©Agematsu Town Tourism Association


Recognized as one of the most beautiful forests in Japan, Akasawa Natural Recreation Forest in Kiso, Nagano is Japan's first designated natural recreation forest.
This ancient outdoor location has been protected since the early Edo period (1603-1867) and is home to many Kiso cypress trees that are more than 300 years old. The forest is also renowned as the source of the sacred wood for Ise Grand Shrine, which is rebuilt from scratch every 20 years in a ritual known as Shikinen Sengu.
Akasawa National Recreation Forest is the birthplace of shinrin-yoku, the practice of mindful engagement with the forest, also known as forest bathing. Scientific experiments conducted among the trees have shown that forest bathing enhances immune functions and reduces stress hormones, benefits that are attracting attention from experts in preventative medicine in both Japan and abroad.
There are seven walking paths through the forest, enabling visitors of all physical abilities to take in the beautiful scenery, sounds, and smells of nature. For those who want to engage more deeply with the experience, forest therapy guides are available.
The beauty of the changing forest can be enjoyed in spring, summer, and autumn, but early summer, when the forest is replete with fresh greenery and the climate is comfortable, is the best season for forest bathing. Please note that the hiking trails are closed in the chilly winter months.
Akasawa is also famous for its “forest rail,” a heritage railway that was once an important mode of transport for forestry tasks in the Kiso Valley. Nowadays, it is visitors rather than timber who ride the Akasawa Forest Railway, on a nostalgic 25-minute train journey beneath the towering cypress.


©Agematsu Town Tourism Association

How to get there

The destination is 2 hours by train from JR Nagoya Station to Agematsu Station. 20 minutes by bus from JR Agematsu Station.


159-3 Agematsu, Agematsu-machi, Kiso-gun, Nagano-ken


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