Sometimes it’s worth wondering off the main trail, as we found with our Fushimi Inari-taisha visit. Travelling the world (and esp. Japan) is exciting but can be exhausting – all these amazing travel experiences. Just wanting a break from the crowds, we took a detour and wandered down an empty path which lead us to an amazing bamboo forest. We’ve never seen bamboo this dense and with trunks so thick! It’s such a serene setting where you will want to spend some time just taking it all in. It’s a lovely, peaceful break before you join the rest of the sight-seeing mob and continue on your walk through the gates.
Mosquitos are a bit of a problem when you head off into the forest, so make sure you cover yourselves with some mosquito repellant. We’re really glad we encountered this bamboo forest as it gave us the option to skip the Sagano Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama, which is also in Kyoto. It would have been an amazing place to go and visit (as it has been referred to as one of the most beautiful bamboo groves on Earth) but you don’t get to see everything you’d like to when you’re travelling with a 6yr old. The Sagano Bamboo Forest is a busy tourist attraction, but it was a little bit of a distance from where we were staying and would have bored our little one within minutes! We would then have a complaining little man to deal with for the whole time we were there. Also, the warning of mosquitos there didn’t appeal to us either. It’s something we can look forward to visiting the next time we’re in Japan when the kid is a little more mature.
The bamboo forest at Fushimi Inari-taishi brang back memories of when I lived in New Zealand. There weren’t many bamboo forests there and I’m sure they weren’t anywhere as impressive as this one in Kyoto. I have memories of my family going to a bamboo forest in New Zealand, in search of bamboo shoots for their Asian dishes. This is what Laos people did back in Laos and it was lovely for them to be doing the same in their new country. Bamboo shoots are used in stir-fries, curries and many other Laos dishes. Luckily, it’s sold in tins at the local supermarket or Asian stores. It’s never going to be the same as plucking it fresh from the ground.