Covering a total of 16 km², the Bamboo Forest is on the list of the ‘100 must-be-preserved sounds of Japan’ as voted by the Japanese government. The sound being what you hear when the winds blow through and across the thick bamboo grove. I wish I heard that myself but I didn’t need to hear it to know that this forest is one of the most unique and natural environments in Japan.
The adventure began way before we arrived at the Bamboo Forest. In order to get there, we crossed what is called the Togetsu-kyo Bridge. If you look closely enough, in the fourth picture, there is a group of men dressed in white dancing or performing where the water flows over the short vertical drop. Basically the bottom of the mini waterfall. I wonder how they managed to keep warm as they would have been soaking wet and ten times colder from the winter breeze.
There were boats along the river offering visitors a boat ride to rent. It is especially popular when the cherry blossoms are out and blooming along the riverside. Unfortunately, the trees were bare so we skipped the boat ride. Maybe next time.
After crossing this bridge and embarking on a walk along the river, we stepped foot in Arashiyama Park. This park has many temples, observation lookouts and most significant of all the Bamboo Forest. We ventured into the park and followed a pathway that led us to a beautiful scenic lookout pictured below.
Last but not least, we marched on toward the Bamboo Forest and spent a good amount of time walking along the path while enjoying the magnificent view and company. The materials used to fence off the bamboo grove and pathway are actually dried leaves and old fallen bamboo. Way to be eco-friendly Japan!
Below are a couple of photos I captured on the way back from the Bamboo Forest toward Hankyu Arashiyama Station.
Overall, I loved the experience and connection I felt with nature when I was in this place, and would say to anyone visiting that it is a must!