Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, also known as Sagano Bamboo Forest, is a popular tourist spot. The bamboo grove is located in the west of Kyoto in the Arashiyama district. It is a historic district of the city with many attractions.
In its size, the bamboo forest is more like a small park. The area of this picturesque place is about 16 square kilometers. The small area of the grove is densely covered with bamboo. Some plants reach a height of 40-50 meters, thereby covering the sky. Because of this, it seems that you are in an impenetrable thicket.
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest on Google maps
There is a network of paths in the bamboo grove. At night, the paths in the park are illuminated with artificial lights. On both sides of the paths is a fence made of dried bamboo stems and leaves. Today this place is among the tourist attractions of Japan under the protection of the state.
The popularity of this Kyoto attraction can be judged by the number of visitors. For example, in 2017 the Arashiyama bamboo grove was visited by more than 28 million tourists. At the beginning of 2018 (data as of April), about 10.5 million people visited the place.
Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is open to visitors around the clock. Admission to the area is free for everyone. It takes half an hour to walk through the entire park, but that is enough time to admire the beauty of this picturesque place and take a couple of pictures.
Tourists who have been to Sagano Bamboo Forest recommend going to the grove early in the morning or in the evening when there is no rush of visitors.
At the entrance to the park, there is a souvenir shop where you can buy bamboo products. There are also bicycle rentals nearby that you can ride through the bamboo grove. There are also rickshaws that sometimes stop by.
The bamboo forest appeared in the Arashiyama area in the 14th century. The founder of such an unusual park was Muso Soseki, the mentor of the school of rinzai-zen and icon of the art of gardening. The park was planted with Moso bamboo, native to China and Taiwan.
Today, in addition to being protected by the state, the park is also part of Japan’s soundscape. The soundscape is a kind of landscape consisting of a variety of sounds produced in the surrounding area.
The bamboo grove in the Arashiyama area is listed as one of the top hundred soundscapes in the country. The stems and leaves of this plant, moving in the wind, squeak and collide with each other to form a natural symphony. That’s why you should come here in the morning or evening when there are not many tourists and extraneous sounds to hear the “singing forest”.
What else to see near Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
According to Japanese belief, bamboo can protect from evil spirits. That is why this plant has been planted near temples since ancient times. For example, near the bamboo grove in the Arashiyama district is one of the country’s landmarks, the Buddhist Tenryu-ji Temple. It is one of the historical monuments listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within the boundaries of the temple complex is the Sogenchi Garden with a pond in which fish swim.
Also near the grove is the Shinto temple Nonomiya, which is mentioned in the tale of Genji. This is where the emperor’s daughters spent several years before going to Ise Shrine.
Not far from the bamboo grove, on the banks of the Katsura River, is Arashiyama Park. There is plenty of vegetation, and the observation deck offers a picturesque view of the opposite bank.
About 3 kilometers north of the bamboo forest is another temple, Otagi Nanbutsu-ji, which is also worth a visit. The temple is famous for its unusual landscape of stone figures – the followers of Buddha, of which there are more than 1,000 in the area.
How to get to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove
Although located on the outskirts of Kyoto, Arashiyama is as accessible as the city center. It can be reached by public transportation. Near the grove is the Torokko Arashiyama railway station. Trains Kameoka and Saga pass through this station.
You can also take a streetcar to the Arashiyama district. Get off at the “Arashiyama” streetcar stop. To get to this station, take a streetcar on the red line (Arashiyama Line). From this streetcar station you can walk to Sagano Bamboo Grove in about 10 minutes.
Walking route schematic of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove stop
You can also order a cab to get anywhere in Kyoto. There are many local services in the city: Kyotomiyabi Taxis, Arashiyama Taxi, MK Taxi.
Sagano Bamboo Forest (Kyoto, Japan)
The Sagano Bamboo Forest is one of the most amazing places on the planet. The forest is also often called the Sagano Bamboo Grove. The grove consists of thousands of thin tall and very strong bamboo trees growing in even rows.
The bamboo forest is located in the Arashiyama Park on Japan’s largest island, Honshu, a 20-minute drive from Kyoto. Also in this park is a Zen Buddhist temple Tenryu-ji, which fell under UNESCO protection.
Huge popularity of this place has received not only because of its amazing beauty, but also because of the fantastic sound that occurs during the light breath of wind. Visitors to the bamboo grove assure that this sound, similar to a piece of music, has an inexplicable calming effect. The bamboo swaying in the wind makes incredible sounds. They are unlike anything else. It is impossible to find any resemblance to the usual sounds of the forest. Many visitors to the park claim that here you can not only relax, but even understand the meaning of life. Moreover – for the time spent in this forest, you can quickly remove the accumulated psychological stress, which you will not be guaranteed a visit to a therapist. That’s why the Japanese government deservedly included the melody of the bamboo grove in the list of “one hundred sounds of the country that should be preserved”.
The history of the bamboo grove dates back to the 14th century. It was then that a Japanese monk, Muso Soseki, brought to life the idea of creating this picturesque park. Now the Sagano Bamboo Forest covers an area of 16km2. Through the bamboo plantations are cut pedestrian paths for walking, which at night are illuminated with small colorful lanterns, creating a cozy atmosphere. The paths are surrounded by a low fence made of dried bamboo stems – it looks very natural.
On the territory of this park grows a giant bamboo “Moso”, the tallest representative of the species. It is noteworthy that the thinnest stems of the bamboo, which are only 20-30 cm in diameter, can reach a height of about 40 meters. Bamboo grows with excessively high speed, literally in a month the plant can reach a height of 20 meters.
Another peculiarity of these bamboo trees is their uniform evenness and slenderness. They are like twin brothers. You can admire the Sagano bamboo grove at any time of the year, it is an evergreen plant.
Sagano Bamboo Forest is a pride and one of the most beautiful sights in Japan. You can walk around the park in 15 minutes, but you want to walk there for hours.