The Bamboo Forest, Kyoto
I just returned from two weeks in Japan. Of all the beautiful places we visited, the most exquisite was this bamboo forest located in the Sagano district of Kyoto. If you go to Japan you must go there- unfortunately no one tells you this! Not the hotel concierges, not the general public, nor did I see it mentioned in any of the books or articles I read before going. I knew of it only from having seen a photo recently while researching a garden project. If I’d had Ryuichi Sakamoto playing in my headset, I would have had to be scraped off the ground- just a little weeping puddle of Perfect Moment. A sinuous drive winds it’s way through the forest like a dream sequence in which Ken Watanabe awaits you with a cloak fashioned entirely of baby bamboo leaves, lighter than a butterfly’s breath (OK, maybe that’s just for me). In reality, the drive leads to the most stunning example of Japanese architecture; a villa nestled on the south side of Mount Ogura, rather incredibly, open to the public. The home, surrounded by gnarled pines, cherry trees and heart-stopping moss gardens, was built over a 30 year period by the famous Japanese silent film actor Okochi Denjiro (1898-1962). Denjiro was a deep admirer of Zen philosophy and it is evident in every facet of the villa and garden. I haven’t been this moved by landscape since my very first visit to Oak Alley. Another post. Please go. And leave me to Ken.