A beautiful Sangono bamboo forest is found in Arashiyama on the outskirts of Kyoto. There are 4 Shinto temples in close proximity to the bamboo forest. One of the temples very close to the forest is Tenryu-ji temple. The forest is believed to provide protection from evil and represents strength for those practicing Shinto. Here is a site about this forest. It covers 16 square kilometers.
It is a wonder place to use Shinrin-yoku, forest bathing. Forest Bathing refers to sitting, walking – just being inside a forest. The sounds, smells and views experienced in a forest can serve as a calming and healing experience. I am sure my mom would agree with the benefits of exposure to nature. She used to canoe from Ely in upper Minnesota, where you can spend days and days alone in the wilderness. I am lucky. I have a large stand of trees that begins in my backyard and extends into a forested swampy area that supports a variety of wildlife.
Bamboo is actually a tall grass. Its scientific name is Bambusoideae and is part of the Poaceae grass family. This Article tells you more about bamboo than you could ever wish to know. The type of bamboo in the Sangono Forest is Moso. It can grow 20 meters high in only a month. The largest grow to 40 meters and are 35 cm in diameter. It reproduces by putting out rhizomes (undergrown stems) and shoots come up called culms. The culms grow very fast and when they have reached their 40-50 feet height, they stop growing. The Moso bamboo can also flower but does so rarely, only every 50-100 years.
The culms of the bamboo (see picture on the right) are the shoots that people gather to eat but are harvestable for only a very short time. Please take a look at this site to see how very fast they grow, growing beyond an edible stage in a month.
Bamboo is very strong and is used in wide variety of ways. Time to do some research! – Look on the internet to see if you can find at least 10 ways to use bamboo.
Fun Fact: Sugar cane is in the same family of plant as the Bamboo but the “twisted” bamboo you buy to decorate the house, the “lucky bamboo”, is not really bamboo. It is related to the spider plant. It is called the Lucky Bamboo, however, and is incorporated in decorating for Feng Sui.