Sagano bamboo forest in Japan is one of Japan's national treasures. It is about a half-hour walk to the ancient capital of Kyoto and covers a total area of about 15 square kilometers. To the west of Kyoto and very close to the Hozu River is this bamboo forest, one of the biggest tourist attractions in this part of Japan. It is said that a walk through this botanical reserve is like a spiritual purification, something that cannot be expressed in words or images.
It is spectacularly beautiful, not only visually, but also aurally. The sound that is heard and the wind that sighs through the upper branches gives an extraordinary sensory experience, as does the filtered light, and the shadow that moves through them. Bamboo is still used extensively in Japan as a form of art, building, furniture, papermaking and textiles. Historically, there would have been many similar forests, as in most Asian countries. The Japanese have a reverence for bamboo and all that it provides for the community. Unfortunately, population and agricultural pressures across Asia have led to a significant decline in bamboo forests over the past 30 years.