The bamboo forest of Sagano has beautiful sounds that must be preserved

The sound of the bamboo forest of Sagano, Japan, entered the list of the top 100 sounds we must preserve compiled by the Japanese government.

The idea of soundscape has been theorised for the first time in the ‘70s by Canadian composer, scientist and environmentalist Raymond Murray who invented the World soundscape project, an interdisciplinary research project for the comparative study of the sounds of landscapes throughout the world.


Thanks to his theories, he created a real alternative discipline to the study of sound, noise and the environment – which he called sound ecology – that was applied by a number of scholars. But that’s not all. Perhaps it is thanks to this discipline that people over the years have developed great sensitivity over perceiving landscapes with the sense of hearing as well as sight.


For example, in Japan, he’s been encouraging an initiative aimed at discovering and protecting soundscapes. The Japanese ministry of the environment also compiled a list of the top 100 soundscapes of the country: an initiative aimed at tackling sound pollution, in order to preserve the sounds of nature and encourage people to listen to them.


There were 738 warnings from all over Japan that were then examined by a group of soundscape scholars who chose the top 100.

These include the bamboo forest of Sagano: an area of 16 square kilometres in the district of Arashiyama – a few kilometres away from the centre of Kyoto – that today is one of the most visited places in Japan thanks to the forest. Bamboos, which are more than 10 metres tall, filter the sunlight as well as the wind and offer beautiful plays of lights as well as unique sounds.

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