Almost a hundred years ago, more than 100,000 young people volunteered to plant 100,000 trees in the heart of Tokyo. The trees had been donated from all over Japan in order to create an oasis of sorts, a sacred shrine forest, or chinju no mori, to surround the newly created Meiji Shrine. The future forest would become a self-renewing, naturally evolving and growing green space, sufficient on its own as a living organism and free from human intervention. The 172 acre forest, replete with fishing ponds, pathways, and an iris garden, was designed by Emperor Meiji specifically for Empress Shoken—a place where she could go to renew her energy amidst the bustle of quickly growing city. Today, the forest lives on, renewing itself, and the people of Tokyo, each spring.
For more information about Meiji Jingu Forest, visit http://www.ecology.com/2016/02/25/meiji-jingu-forest-heart-tokyo