Culms 1–4 m tall, 0.2–0.8 cm thick; internodes to 30 cm, glabrous, apically thickly white-waxy in a narrow band; nodes glabrous, not prominent. Culm sheaths glabrous, margins glabrous, very persistent, disintegrating in situ; auricles absent; oral setae absent. Leaf sheaths minutely pubescent, margins glabrous; auricles absent; oral setae absent; ligule rounded, long, to 5 mm, basally tomentose, entire; blade 15–30 cm long, 1.8–4 cm wide, glabrous, dark green adaxially, scabrous usually only on one margin. Name from the Kurile Islands between Japan and Russia.
Sasa kurilensis is widely distributed in Japan, Korea and Russia’s Sakhalin Island. Several cultivars with different patterns of leaf variegation are grown in Japan. Cultivar ‘Shimofuri’, shown here, is the most commonly grown cultivar in western gardens. Its leaf blades have a large number of very fine, discontinuous white lines.