It is widely believed that coming into contact with forest environments is somehow beneficial to human well-being and comfort. In Japan, “Shinrin-yoku” (taking in the atmosphere of a forest) has been proposed to be a relaxation activity associated with forest recreation. The purpose of this study was to examine the physiological effects of forest recreation on the autonomic nervous activity. The subjects were twelve male university students (21.8 ± 0.8 years old). On the first day of the experiment, six subjects were sent to a forest area, and the other six to a city area. On the second day, each subject was sent to the area he did not visit on the first day as a cross check. The subjects walked (15 minutes) around their assigned areas before noon, and sat on chairs viewing (15 minutes) the landscapes of their assigned areas in the afternoon. Heart rate variability (HRV), blood pressure, and pulse rate were measured as physiological indices. Measurements were taken at the place of accommodation in the morning, before and after walking, and before and after viewing at their assigned field areas. Pulse rate, diastolic blood pressure and LF/(LF+HF) (LF – low frequency, HF – high frequency) components of HRV were significantly lower in the forest area than in the city area. HF components of HRV tended to be higher in the forest than in the city. In conclusion, the results of the physiological measurements show that forest recreation enabled effective relaxation in people, both of the mind and body.