森 vs 林 - which is more forest?


#1

Which of this is more “forest” or what makes them apart?
Which to use for the run-of-the-mill, everyday kind of forest?
Which to use for a tropical one, which for a more magical one?


#2

Reddit tells me 林 is used for man-made forests/mangroves and 森 for the real ones. Since I think all forests are magical, I don’t think I can help you any further.


#3

Got it?

Me neither.


#4

That 森 specifically refers to shrine grove.

森:樹木が多くこんもりと生い茂っている所。
林:樹木がたくさん群がって生えている所。

森 is more dense and overgrown. Ever heard of the aokigahara forest thats been in the news because of the vlogger stuff? Thats a 森. Here are pictures

and heres a 林

See the difference?

EDIT: Midnight is also correct. 「森」は「盛り」。自然にモリモリ盛り上がったもの.「林」は「生やし」。人が生やしたもの


#5

Oh yeah, that’s right! The trick is the kanji itself! 林 has 2 trees while 森 has 3 :laughing: baka me.


#6

Then what about 森林??!?!?!!?!?!1111!?!?!?1


#7

Hum… It has 5 trees… so it’s a even more dense forest? :thinking:


#8

You have been fooled by my master expert level trick question.
森林は、森よりもさらに広範囲にわたり、樹木が密生しているところを指す。 また、森林は樹木だけでなく、そこに棲む動物や微生物、土壌などを含めた一体を指していう。

Its more dense and lush and wide than 森 but also filled with life. A sort of ecosystem in and of itself I believe.


#9

@Chiv I think we’ve found your magical forest.


#10

This is a picture of one in Yakushima, which is where princess mononoke took place iirc


#11

But what about 杜


#12

I know you’re probably not actually serious, but 森」は「木」を3つ組み合わせた漢字で、本来は樹木が沢山生えている”様子”を表したが、日本では樹木が生い茂った”場所”を表すようになった。 「杜」は「杜の鎮守」というように、神社のある地の木立ちの意味で使い、神秘的な雰囲気のある森を表すこともある。for anyone wondering, according to google. 杜 wasn’t in my vocab until 30 seconds ago and I dont feel like making sure I translate that half decently. Syphus is in charge of this one.


#13

Not really an ecosystem in itself. The definition just mentions that 森林 also refers to the animals and microbes inhabiting the area, not just the trees.

It’s funny, though, I never had a problem to distinguish those two words as they are also different in my mother tongue. But that made me expect that they would also be different in other languages.


#14

Yeah, ecosystem is a meh translation which is why I added the “sort of”. Just can’t be bothered to define it too well after I posted the japanese definition already lol.
whoops quoted wrong part. Oh well, too lazy to change that too


#15

「森」being a kanji with three “tree”, it originated from the appearance of a “place” lush with trees. 「杜」, like in the expression 「杜の鎮守」(sacred grove? Not sure), is used to designate the trees planted near a shrine; it can also mean a forest with a mystical atmosphere.

Edit: by the way, it should be 鎮守の杜, I think. Not sure why the text says the opposite.


#16

“Grove of the village shrine” is how edict translates it. Apparently the one for meiji shrine counts as one, even though they call it 鎮守の杜, meaning I’ve been to one. Yay!

Yeah haha, the opposite possessive was a bit weird. Not sure why it was written that way in the definition.


#17

Awesome, thanks for all the replies! And the pictures of the magical ones, really beautiful.

I chose the reply with the pictures as answer, as I believe they are helping a lot.


#18

I asked this question to my neighbor (Hayashi) and my colleague (Mori) before. Neither of them could explain it to me properly but I found this: http://gaijinhan.com/2015/10/28/森-vs-林/

Unsure of its legit, though.