A visit to Kyoto isn’t complete without a trip through the stunning bamboo grove of Arashiyama. There is nothing more humbling than acres of majestic trees towering above your head, cutting thousands of completely vertical lines 115 feet into the sky.
Bamboo has been revered for its durability for centuries, and it grows incredibly fast, making it a popular renewable resource; the wood is used in thousands of applications. It is particularly important to the Japanese, who view it as a symbol of prosperity and see its simplicity as representing purity. Bamboo is unique in its elegance, which is why stalks frequent many zen-hopeful desks, but they are seldom seen in such magnificence.
We rode our bikes several miles out from our rented town home and walked the mile-and-change loop (with our bikes) down Arashiyama’s main street, through the grove, down to the river, and along the water back to the bridge. The path was quite populated for a weekday, but we were able to meander the forest at our leisure, snapping some photos (above the heads of all the people) and watching the kimono and rickshaws go by.
The forest is open 24hrs, and they light up the bamboo at night. Next time, we’ll be sure to visit at night as well, as I’m sure stripes of the shadows cast would be quite photogenic indeed.