The Sagano Bamboo Forest is one of Japan’s national treasures. It is about a half-hour out of the ancient capital of Kyoto and covers a total area of about 15 square kilometres. It is spectacularly beautiful – not just visually, but aurally as well. The sound of culms knocking together and the wind sighing through the upper branches is an extraordinary sensory experience, as is the filtered, moving light and shade.
Bamboo is still used extensively in Japan in art, building, furniture, paper making and textiles. Historically, there would have been many similar forests as, in common with most Asian countries, the Japanese have a reverence for bamboo and all it provides to the community. Unfortunately, population and farming pressures throughout Asia have resulted in a significant decline in bamboo forests in the past 30 years.
The genera here is Phyllostachys edulis, better known as Moso. It is a running variety that originated in China. The shoots are highly prized as a food and the long straight culms are up to 25 metres in length, making them excellent for building.
While Moso is not suitable for most gardens, there are many totally non-invasive clumping bamboos that well bring exceptional beauty to your home. There are even temperate varieties capable of withstanding temperatures as low as -20F.
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