It was in 1976 at a school reunion when Michihiro Nishida, then a corporate vice-president, learned about the "hometown forest" theory from Akira Miyawaki, then professor at Yokohama National University. Professor Miyawaki had been Nishida's junior in school, graduating from the Yokohama Technical College of Engineering currently Yokohama National University, Engineering Department. Nishida was very excited about the idea of creating groves like those surrounding village shrines, since it was a completely new concept for him. Following Miyawaki's speech, Nishida immediately offered the professor his enthusiastic assistance.
Nishida wasted no time in buying and reading the books Miyawaki had authored. The professor's idea was essentially to plant the native tree species that had embodied the natural beauty of Japan throughout its history, and to create what we now see in the groves surrounding local shrines. By doing so, he believed it was possible to preserve the country's unique ecological matrix.