Place of Scenic Beauty (this is a thing) and nationally-designated Historic site, Arashiyama is the bamboo forest where House of Flying Daggers was filmed. At least this is what I thought until I came back from Japan and someone told me it was actually filmed in China. This is just a little hiccup in my belief that I was in one of the most beautiful film locations ever.
Of course film location or not, a bamboo forest is unlike any forest I have ever been too. Everything is tall and straight and when the wind blows everything sings.
Before we went in we went on a little walk in the town, and while I can’t remember what Sister or Friend had, I opted for a Ginger Juice. Very, very sweet and thankfully also very, very gingery.
I loved the idea of there being a corn field before a bamboo forest. Tickled me pink.
The forest was dark, quiet (despite the throngs of people) and mysterious. Atmospheric is the right word isn’t it? It was definitely that.
I was particularly taken with the silver bamboo. Never have I ever seen anything like that and I don’t think I ever will.
The shrine was tucked in between the bamboo and sadly most of my pictures of it are blurry. Annoying but you can still see how effective and shocking the vermilion and black colours were against the mass of green.
The only downside to going into a dark, mysterious forest as the sun is setting are the mosquitoes. I may have been wearing a cardigan but they went through the fabric and straight to my shoulders and upper arms. As for my legs, well, what can I say? The mosquitoes love me. They loved Sister too in her shorts.
I don’t think it would have made any difference to go in the day time and wearing full length clothes was not an option – it was so, so hot. And not going was not an option – at all. If you are ever in Kyoto (or anywhere where there is a bamboo forest…you know, just lying around) then you have to go. Mosquito bites will fade – the memory of this won’t.