“…All longing was put to sleep in the stillness, and all was distilled into a clean simplicity.”

Walking through the Arashiyama Bamboo Forest near Kyoto is an otherworldly experience. I remember watching Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon when it came out and being transfixed by the Chinese landscapes and the aerial stunts during the fights. The fight through the bamboo forest always seemed like something an art director came up with to look cool. I had no idea I would actually get to wander through one myself, albeit in a different country than in the film.

What amazed me the most about this forest was the diversity of things to see. The bamboo is thick, but there were also other trees growing amid the stalks, and there was fungus growing as well. It’s a fascinating place.

Join me again tomorrow for details from my visit to the famous Tenryu-ji Temple next to the bamboo forest.

Title quote: Pico Iyer, Video Night in Kathmandu and Other Reports from the Not-So-Far East

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