Sunday, October 8, 2017

Kyoto Day 4- Bamboo forest

While a leisurely stroll among nature is long known to be relaxing, the Japanese have gone so far as to not only give the practice a name (shinrin-yoku) but studied it extensively. From the shinrin-yoku forest medicine website:

"Shinrin-yoku is a term that means "taking in the forest atmosphere" or "forest bathing." It was developed in Japan during the 1980s and has become a cornerstone of preventive health care and healing in Japanese medicine. Researchers primarily in Japan and South Korea have established a robust body of scientific literature on the health benefits of spending time under the canopy of a living forest. Now their research is helping to establish shinrin-yoku and forest therapy throughout the world. 

The idea is simple: if a person simply visits a natural area and walks in a relaxed way there are calming, rejuvenating and restorative benefits to be achieved. "

However much stock you put into such claims,  the bamboo forest in Kyoto is one exceptionally lovely (albeit smaller than I had anticipated) locale to partake in some soothing plant-gazing and walking. Depending when you visit, there may be crowds of people milling around, dispelling the illusion of solitude quickly. I happened to visit during a relatively quiet time, and managed to snap these. When a van rolled through the narrow lane it really helped to illuminate just how tall these bamboo shoots are... bamboo is one of the fastest growing plants, is it not? 

If your visit finds you here on a slow day, you'll be able to enjoy the sound of the wind rippling among the towering flora.  If it's summer, the cicada will join in to bolster the chorus. 

Who knows, maybe, just maybe, you'll feel rejuvenated, too.