If there’s anyone who knows about the importance of spending time in nature, it’s the Japanese. They do, after all, have a word that encapsulates this relaxing activity: shinrin-yoku (森林浴) or “forest bathing.” Coined in 1982 by Japan’s Forestry Agency to make forests a more popular relaxation spot, shinrin-yoku gained popularity in the West a few decades later, thanks in part to the internet.

No matter how the word might get interpreted in other countries, the main idea of it is simple: visit a forest and spend some time surrounded by trees. It was said that being immersed in a forest’s clean air and peacefulness can be good for one’s mental and physical health.

Now, if you’re a fan of books or tea, shinrin-yoku might sound like the perfect complement to either of these things. The good news is you can get your forest bathing practice in with both, at an event that’ll take place amid the beautiful red maple trees and golden larches of Karuizawa, Nagano.

Autumn Foliage Library (紅葉図書館) is an outdoor library with free-to-read books, and every year, it gets set up during the height of Nagano’s autumn season. This year, it’ll take place from October 8 to November 7, 2021. Upon arrival, visitors can choose from the 500 books lining the 10-meter (32.8 feet) long bookshelves, which also double as seating.

Apple-based tea and sweets will be served at the event, namely, a milk apple tea for 500 yen, an apple and cinnamon galette, and a honey apple baumkuchen for 700 yen each. Every weekend, mobile bookstores selling second-hand books will be set up, and on the weekend of October 23 and 24, a picture book reading session will be held for kids.

You can find more information about the library below.

Autumn Foliage Library

Date: October 8 - November 7, 2021 Hours: 10:00 - 16:30 Venue: At the public square in front of Tonbo-no-yu Hot Springs, 2148 Nagakura, Karuizawa, Kitasaku District, Nagano 389-0111 Admission: Free Note: Event may be cancelled in case of rain. Japanese event page

By - Jen Laforteza.