Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama

On the western side of Kyoto is the Arashiyama district – famous for its many temples and hilly scenery. One of it’s most famous sites is a bamboo forest.

Like many popular attractions, it all depends on when you visit. My first visit was on a sunny day at 10 am and it looked like this. Beautiful but not very quiet.

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It was even worse when tour groups moved through. While I wouldn’t consider this a forest or a trail, it can get annoying when you try to visit a nature setting and it’s really crowded or loud. The worst is when you’re hiking and someone else on the trail is playing music through speakers. I read park rangers in Muir Woods have suggested visitors refrain from talking on certain trails. Just your footsteps and the sounds of the forest. Sounds perfect.

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I still managed to find a place that was away from the crowds though.

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View from lying down on the ground

View from lying down on the ground

I ended up going back the next morning. Being 45 minutes away, this unfortunately meant waking up at 6:00 am. Luckily I normally wake up early. I’ll sleep when I get back from traveling.

When I arrived, it was a completely different scene than the day before. There was hardly anyone there except for the occasional runner or biker. The wind would blow through the top of the trees making a soundtrack you would find at the nature-background-music display at Target.

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It was overcast as well which made for great pictures as it cut out the shadows. Lighting is the main principle behind photography and for shooting outdoors this means relying on the weather. If you’re smart about it, you can get good pictures just through planning when to take them.

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It’s worth pointing out that these pictures have been edited. What I like to do is try to capture the scene as how it looks but also how I experience it. So the pictures from my first visit are different from the ones today.

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Seeing the bamboo forest in Kyoto was one of my main reasons for coming and it definitely lived up to expectations. I’m just happy I got to see it when it wasn’t too crowded.