Rakusai Bamboo Park 洛西竹林公園

    ●   South-west of Ukyo-ku  京都右京区洛西   
 ** Rakusai Bamboo Park 洛西竹林公園                                    
 Rakusai Bamboo ( Chikurin ) Park is located in the area called Oharano in Rakusai region.This region is known for its mass growth of bamboo and agriculture. It was before the construction of Rakusai New Town which was a project of Kyoto City to develop an ideal form of residential district, much of the whole area of Rakusai was covered in bamboo groves. Along with the construction of new town large area of bamboo groves were reduced into current state. It was a part of project of Rakusai New Town to commemorate original state of this area and preserve the remaining zone of bamboo groves, thus this facility was established in 1981 supported by the voice of locals. This Bamboo ( Chikurin ) Park represents its local life in this area. In this municipal facility there is a museum displaying a wide variety of bamboos for educational purpose. This park does not choose a season to visit since the forest of bamboo is ever-green.The park lies in the expansive area of mass growth of bamboo. You would enjoy from the point you start approaching to the park connected with a winding path surrounded by bamboo forest. Inside the museum is well guided by supportive staff members offering informative guidance both in Japanese and English. You can learn about traditional technique of bamboo preservation invented in Japan. 


** Museum of Bamboo  竹の資料館    

 Inside the museum explains how bamboo is widely used as materials for construction in traditional houses in Japan along with display of bamboo poles of various kinds. You can learn how bamboo materials were involved with traditional lives of people in Japan.  

   Kyomeichiku  京銘竹     

Kyomeichiku is ornamental bamboo pole produced with special method originated in Kyoto. These are examples of Kyomeichiku. They are processed with a special technique to remove oil from inside and roast the surface of bamboo and again remove the oil as it comes out on the surface. Later those bamboos are dried in the sun. This is how they are finished shiny on the surface. Kyomeichiku is designated as a traditional industry and those products of bamboo poles are traditional crafts of Kyoto. These 4 types are displayed as examples of Kyomeichiku.

Shiratake ( White Bamboo ) : This is a most standard type of Kyomeichiku processed with heat and oil removal before dried in the sun. They are made in bright color with natural shiny surface.

Mosokakuchiku ( Square Molded Bamboo ) : The stems of bamboo usually shoot out in cylindrical form. Take a look at these angular stems with four-angled square shape. They were grown in a square mold for the length of approximately 4 meters from the ground. When it grows above the height of the mold it starts to shoot out in a cylindrical form.

Gomadake ( flecked bamboo ) : These bamboo are artificially dried in healthy condition in order to preserve them with this flecked pattern on the surface. In Japan the pattern is called sesame fleck pattern. The pattern is made by a certain type of bacteria produced when bamboo dies. These bamboos are processed with a special method in order to preserve them in good condition.

Bamboo with a pattern of shell of tortoise : You will notice some of the bamboos have their outer part of stems round and making a pattern like shells of tortoise. It is from natural mutation. Each node of bamboo alternately facing opposite side for a certain length from the base and start shooting out straight toward the top.

** Other type of Bamboo poles on display

Mosochiku : Mosochiku is the largest type of bamboo introduced to Japan from China in 18th century. Their height reach over 20 meters. Those young sprouts from this type is edible as Takenoko and popular seasonal food of spring in Japan.

Natural Smoke Stained Bamboo sticks with a pattern of knots : Take a close look at brown bamboo sticks on the display. Notice those lines in brighter color making a pattern of cross. These sticks are collected from old houses. They are natural creation of ordinary lives in folk houses. The brown color was made from soot of smoke and the pattern of lines are from the knots of ropes. It takes around 100 years to be made into this artistic form with shiny surface. The value of one stick is about 300,000 yen when you see them in a market.

 After a little guided tour by the staff you can go on your way to explore into the forest of collective bamboo species brought from all over the world. Next to the museum is nicely designed Japanese garden consists of more than 200 different species of bamboo collected from all over the world. Rakusai Bamboo Park is much renowned in the world for its capacity. In the garden you will notice a stone monument of warlord Oda Nobunaga and a bridge replaced here from Kamigyo ward Dotobashi. Variety of goods made of bamboo are reasonably available in the shop inside the museum. The location of Rakusai is south-west of Arashiyama in Ukyo ward.   


There is a exhibition of Japanese tea room decorated with bamboo posts and Kitayama Cedars. In the garden space next to the tea room is foundation cedar of Kitayama Cedars called Daisugi planted.

Kitayama Cedars : Cedars ( long tall conifer trees ) produced in the northern part of Kyoto are called Kitayama Cedars. The beauty of Kitayama cedars has been highly regarded and renowned for their fine quality. The lumbers cut from those cedars have widely been used as quality building materials for traditional tea rooms called tokonoma and other types of traditional interiors of Sukiya style. This cultivating method Kitayama Cedars creates an art of its own.


 They also display some of the elaborate folk crafts made of bamboo. 

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 The access to the area : First take a train to Katsura Station of Hankyu Line and take a bus No. 8. It is about 5 minutes walk from Minami-fukunishicho bus stop. The park is open from 9:00 to 17:00. The entrance has to be made by 16:00. Closed on Wednesdays. Entrance is free. Strolling around the entire area of bamboo grove surrounding the park takes about 1 hour.


  Editor ( Translation & Research ) : Masayuki Iwasa ( Massy ) & Maria Iwasa
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