Arashiyama Bamboo Grove

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(Photo: Javier Azaña)

The Spiritual Magic of the Bamboo Forest

We all know that Kyoto is one of the most peaceful cities in Japan, but inside of Kyoto there are some areas specially traditional and silent if you know when and where to go. That is one reason why I was so excited to come back to one of my favorite places to have a walk in Kyoto : Arashiyama. There is no visit to Arashiyama without going through the Bamboo Grove, it is mandatory. Also there is no better way to get to all the west temples than walking through the Bamboo Grove path. You will understand why as soon as you step in the Grove.
There are two possible ways of getting to Arashiyama Bamboo Grove. One is going to the entrance of Tenryu-ji Temple and continue to walk some meters to the north. The other one, is going inside Tenryu-ji. After watching all the Zen garden you can get out through the north exit just to see yourself already immersed in the Bamboo Grove.

(Photo: Javier Azaña)

(Photo: Javier Azaña)

The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove is the backbone of the west part of Kyoto, it can take you to a great number of temples of the area in a special way that you can not find elsewhere. If we start from Tenryu-ji Temple we will find a T-intersection right after the Temple exit. The right path leads us to Nonomiya-jinja Shrine. The left path leads us to a succession of interesting sightseeings starting from Okochi Sanso to a pond where we can find Mikami Shrine or as I call it always, the Hair Shrine. In this point it seems that we have already seen all the Bamboo grove. But if we keep walking to the north along the pond, we will start a new path with more bamboo. Here, we will find Jojakuko-ji. If we go to the right, we will see an open field with the Rakushisha Cottage at the back. And at last the Nison-in Temple taking the path to the north.
I have come to the Bamboo Grove several times. Early in the morning, it is just me enjoying the sounds of nature. Other day I just came to some special illumination event with my friends and enjoyed walking with all the people around me eating some traditional Japanese sweet. But not this time, Today I finished my magical Arashiyama route and came back to the Bamboo Grove at night and visited the Nonomiya-jinja Shrine. After a while I decided to walk back to the station along my favourite path. With all the living creatures of the Grove asleep and almost nobody was around there, I just stood in the middle of the path looking up to the sky listening to the sound of the wind caressing the foliage of the bamboo trees and gently bending them. Everything was so dark and so unique that I can’t describe all the feelings of that moment. After a little pause I went to the end of the grove and headed for the station.

(Photo: Roxana Russo)

Report: Javier Azaña