The Bamboo Groove in Arashiyama is a very poignant place. There seem to be a magnetic force that beckons one to listen and be mesmerised by the tranquil beauty of the slender lime green and upright swaying stems. A concrete pathway cut through the forest. Now, we felt as part of the forest. The breeze picked up and the whole vista literally swayed. An eerie but soothing sound of rustling leaves and rasping stems became a constant. Occasionally, when the tall stems collided, a deafening squeaky sound resonated throughout the park. Dusk added another unnatural dimension to this environment. Enlightening, perhaps! It’s fascinating how a grass held sway emotions of those present here. The slow stroll was strangely soothing.
“….the only light that was present was a shard of sunlight managing to pierce the thick amour of the tall bamboos, towering into the sky. The slow crack, crack sound could be heard all around us, as the wind blew the masses of huge trees as one. As I looked forward, I saw lines and lines of bamboo, grouped up as close as they could be, swaying in the wind……To look at the forest from the side on the pathway, it was like looking at an enormous green wall” – Navindd
In the cloudy dusk, street lights and red lanterns dimly illuminated the main street in Arashiyama. Lee Cheng alerted me to an impending sight. Across the street, two characters walked quickly in tandem. My heartbeat rose. This was my first encounter with the iconic Geisha. I quickly snapped a few pictures in the dimming dusk light as they walked swiftly. One on the most beautiful sights I had seen – faces painted white with glossy ruby lips in the middle part of their lips, cherry blossom pink cheeks, red on the outside of their eyes and black liner around their eyes, and highlighted eyebrows. I noticed that one had only her lower lips painted red. Their outfit was immaculate- a flowing, elaborate and shiny silk kimono with beautiful floral silk embroidery and brocades. To add to the already magnificent outfit, they wore a dangling “obi”, “darari”, and sash on the back of the kimono. Their hair neatly tied up and adorned with elaborate combs and dangling hairpins, “kanzashi”. They both wore the “zori”, slippers with a “tabi”, split toed socks. In their hands, a small parcel wrapped in layers of cloth. They were just across the street. I put my camera down. I was awestruck by their elegance, beauty, poise and presence. There is an eternal aura around them. I was enchanted. As they walked away, the backs of their exposed necks was painted white with a W- shape design. A memorable sight indeed! Once they disappeared, there seem to be a void. Such is their presence. Regretfully, I had no clear pictures of this delightful encounter.
We walked off the main street into narrow lanes and discovered several eateries, gift shops as well as residential homes. Cyclist and motorcycles dashed past us in the dim streets lit by red lanterns and neon signage. We retired to a lovely noodle shop for dinner. It had been a long day for us. The scenery and setting of Arashiyama had certainly wet our appetite for this old capital. We returned to Kyōto by train.