What can you say about bamboo? Bamboo is just a wonder. Despite being relatively light weight, it has a greater tensile strength than steel and withstands compression better than concrete! Not bad at all for something that is considered to be a primitive grass! In China, it is used as scaffolding for building construction. It is also used as water containers and piping, creating chopsticks, building material, creating activated carbon etc.
But, you know, bamboo is beautiful too. There is something magical, spiritual almost watching the bamboo sway in the breeze and listening to the sound of the leaves. All the more so when you find yourself in the middle of an old age bamboo grove.
Welcome to the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. Located to the west of Kyoto, it is one of the top destinations for tourists and locals alike. Beautiful. I would easily included it in my Squirrel’s Secret Spot series except for the @#%*!@ crowd of people there! Definitely recommend visiting off-season, during weekdays and as early as possible. I went in early December.
It’s not all bamboo though. There is also a UNESCO World Heritage Temple (Tenryuji), the scenic Hozu River gorge (go on a boat ride or a scenic train ride or combine the two), a monkey park and other attractions.
And then, it gets even more excellent! For about a week in December, the forest is illuminated and it turns into a wonderland (Arashiyama Hanatoro event).
All that wandering around and gazing at the wonderful sights will leave you famished. Make a pit stop and refuel at one of the many restaurants, tea houses, food kiosks found all along the access to the forest from the railway station. I am sure that its all good but I want to make a mention about this stall that makes yuba donuts from scratch. Familiar yet different and tummy warming.
I loved this place so much. I will be back!