Take [竹(タケ)](bamboo)

Bamboo is called Take[竹(タケ)] in Japanese. Takes are evergreen plants in the bamboo subfamily of the grass family Poaceae.

Take (Mōsō-chiku)

There are also similar species in the same bamboo subfamily called "Sasa[笹(ササ)]". Generally, the two are distinguished. Take sheds the skin when it grows but Sasa does not. Generally, varieties of Sasa are thinner and shorter than Take.

Sasa (Kuma-zasa)

It is said that there are about 600 species of Take in Japan and it is thought that many species came from China. Take is distributed in temperate and tropical regions worldwide. But the northern limit of the habit of Take is the southernmost part of Hokkaidō, Japan(The northern habit of Sasa is in Sakhalin Island.

Take has many species but Mōsō-chiku[孟宗竹(モウソウチク)] is seen the most in Japan.

Take forest(Chikurin[竹林(ちくりん)] in Japanese) requires a regular cutting maintenance because Take is vigorous and if not maintaining the Chikurin, Takes invade its surrounding lands.

Chikurin at Hōkoku-ji Temple
Chikurin at Hōkoku-ji Temple, Kamakura City, Kanagawa

Chikurin no Michi[竹林の道(みち)](Path through the bamboo forest) in Sagano[嵯峨野(さがの)] Area is one of the most famous and popular spot of Kyoto. This calm path creates fantastic atmosphere and it is very relaxing.

Chikurin no Michi
Chikurin no Michi

Take puts forth its shoots in spring. That is called "Takenoko[筍(タケノコ)]" in Japanese. Takenoko is popular as a representative spring food.

Takenoko and Chikurin at Ichinoe Nanushi-yashiki, Edogawa City, Tokyo

Take is also used for various products in Japan because bamboo fiber is flexible and easy to process. Zaru[笊(ざる)] and Kago[籠(かご)](basket) are representative bamboo products. Zaru is a flat basket made by weaving bamboo pieces coarsely and that is mainly used for draining watery foods such as Soba[蕎麦(そば)](buckwheat noodle) and is also used as a dish for them. In Beppu[別府(べっぷ)] City, Ōita Prefecture, bamboo crafts are popular specialties.

Soba on Zaru

Kago made of Take

The main bamboo products other than them is as follows;

  • Take-gaki[竹垣(たけがき)](bamboo fence)


  • Some Japanese music instruments; Shakuhachi[尺八(しゃくはち)](bamboo flute), Hichiriki[篳篥(ひちりき)](double-reed bamboo flute) and Shō[笙(しょう)](wind instrument consists of 17 bamboo tubes)

    Komusōs play Shakuhachi
    Buddhist monks called "Komusō[虚無僧(こむそう)]" playing Shakuhachi

  • Cha-sen[茶筅(ちゃせん)](bamboo tea whisk used for making Matcha[抹茶(まっちゃ)])

    Matcha Jyawan & Chasen
    Cha-sen and Cha-wan[茶碗(ちゃわん)](tea cup) for Matcha

  • Japanese traditional toys; Take-tonbo[竹とんぼ](flying bamboo toy like a helicopter rotor blade) and Take-uma[竹馬(たけうま)](bamboo stilts)


  • Shinai[竹刀(しない)](bamboo sword used for Kendō[剣道(けんどう)])

  • Costume for Kendō
    Costume for Kendō

  • ribs of Wa-gasa[和傘(わがさ)](Japanese umbrella), Uchiwa[団扇](round fan), Sensu[扇子(せんす)](folding fan) and Chōchin[提灯(ちょうちん)](paper lantern)




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