2022 Volume 104 Issue 3 Pages 170-175
A lack of exposure to nature is considered to be detrimental to people's physical and mental health and has been a growing concern in recent years. The global COVID-19 pandemic, which began in 2020, may have changed people's lifestyles and affected their level of interest in experiencing nature. In this study, the effects of these changes to experiencing nature were discussed. We analyzed the changes in Google search volumes from 2016 to 2020 in Japan, and found that searches of keywords related to experiencing nature decreased during the period when a state of emergency was announced in Japan. However, after the declaration of state of emergency was lifted, the search volume of keywords related to experiencing nature remained the same or was higher than before. The results show that in the short term, people's interest in experiencing nature decreased, most likely because they refrained from traveling in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. However, the long-term interest in experiencing nature, which remained the same or was at a higher level than in previous years, suggests that people's interest has increased since experiencing nature is a good way to avoid the risk of infection from the virus.