Behind the lens: Arashiyama, Bamboo Grove

It was a humid, hot and sweaty walk in search of the immensely beautiful Bamboo Grove I had heard so much about. Being July, we had chosen to visit Arashiyama, Japan on a beautiful 36degree summer day and on route to our destination needed to retreat inside at regular intervals for some air con, sushi and tempura, just the essentials! Wandering over the Togetsukyo Bridge and then past the Tenryuji Temple we stumbled across a patch of bamboo. I was a little hesitant but began taking photographs despite noticing it wasn’t looking anything like the photographs I’d seen before. Thinking the bamboo was just as hot and bothered as I was, I snapped away and walked along happily whilst secretly hoping it would get a little greener the further I walked.

Five minutes later and after sneaking a peek at a few intricate Japanese gardens the magic appeared. Tall stalks of bamboo tightly packed together forming a giant jungle of lush green colours and a striking silence that demanded you stop and appreciate the surroundings.

We had found it and I was in photographer heaven.

While most visitors stayed a few minutes and then hustled back to the awaiting air-conditioned restaurants and stores of Arashiyama, I stood amongst this incredible landscape in awe for two hours. Sometimes gazing upward but most times trying to capture just how this place made me feel.

I took this shot standing smack bang in the middle of the path and arched backwards to ensure the full canopy was in shot. Arashiyama will feature on The Wandering Lens shortly but for the moment, I wanted to share this image which always takes me back to nature and that feeling of being completely overwhelmed by a scene…and a little too much humidity!

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Lisa Michele Burns

Hello! I'm the founder and photographer behind The Wandering Lens. With 14+yrs experience as a professional travel and landscape photographer, all advice found on this site is from my personal experience on the road. I hope it's useful for your own travels and would love to hear in the comments about your trips and experiences around the world.

Blog Comments

I saw your blog on TBS today and have already come back to it several times today, I just can’t get enough of your gorgeous photos! So inspiring – I’m now totally itching to grab my camera and up my game (in my own pathetic way, ha).

Hi Silvia, so lovely to hear you’ve visited a few times already! If you have any photo questions feel free to let me know and I’ll answer them for you! I just had a peek at your blog, great to see someone venturing off the regular tourist trail, very inspiring! I’ll be following along for sure! x

Great post and perfect timing as the Bamboo Grove is very high on my list for our trip to Japan this summer, and the way the calendar looks we may be there in boiling weather as well. Great photo and consider me inspired, and looking for your other post now.

Super exciting you are visiting Japan this summer! It’s such an enchanting country with so much to see and soak up. If you visit in summer the department stores actually have entire sections dedicated to staying cool…it’s pretty hilarious but very handy!

I’m so excited to visit this spot soon and I’m pretty sure I will spend some hours there, too.

May I ask what settings your camera was on? I can never get the right exposure during daylight hours…

Hi Eric, it can be tricky during daylight hours with the light being so strong. This was taken under the shade of the bamboo so it makes it easier with the lack of direct light. My settings for this shot were f/2.8, ISO 400, 1/40 sec, +0.7 exp and I was using a 14-24mm lens at 14mm. I hope that helps 🙂

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