Finding Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

Bamboo Grove in Arashiyama, Kyoto
Bamboo Forst in Arashiyama, Kyoto

There is a thick bamboo forest in Arashiyama, Kyoto. It’s one of the most photographed spots in the area. Knowing the words for bamboo and forest in Japanese – 竹 take and 森 mori. I thought looking for such a well-known spot would be a breeze.

“竹の森はどこですか? take no mori wa doko desu ka? (Where is the bamboo forest?)”, I asked. No one knew what I was saying – until one person took a moment to figure out what I meant. “Oh! 竹林 chikurin!”, she said.

It turns out there are many ways to say the same thing in Japanese - even if they have the same kanji character. Pronunciation derived from the kanji character's Chinese pronunciation called 音読み onyomi. Pronunciation based on native Japanese language is called 訓読み kunyomi. For bamboo 竹, chiku is the onyomi, take is the kunyomi.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest
Arashiyama Bamboo Forest

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