Towering green stalks of bamboo sway in the wind, creaking eerily they collide and twist and leaves rustling in Sagano Bamboo Forest, on the outskirts of Kyoto, propably the most beautiful bamboo grove I have ever seen.
The sun filtered through the densely packed grove, projecting thin slashes of light onto the dozens of camera-clutching tourists shuffling down the wide trail that cuts through the middle of the forest as they awkwardly angle their shots, attempting to crop human forms out of their frames. But, my friend, no picture can capture the feeling of standing in the midst of this sprawling bamboo grove – the whole thing has a palpable sense of otherness that is quite unlike that of any normal forest we know of.
I believe long gone are the days when you’d get this place to yourself. The beauty of the bamboo brings in the masses, those distinct rustling sounds have become an attraction in their own right.
A few years ago the Ministry of Environment included the Sagano Bamboo Forest on its list of “100 Soundscapes of Japan” — a selection of everyday noises intended to encourage locals to stop and enjoy nature’s music.
To really enjoy this Soundscape, head out early in the morning or late evening and avoid weekends completely, when Japanese day-trippers descend on the area — especially in the fall and spring.