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Toro Yama (蟷螂山) knot | by MShades
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Toro Yama (蟷螂山) knot

An intricate knot on Toroyama. Most of the floats have these, and they're a special Kyoto art form. Not in the Boy Scout handbook, for some reason.


Toro Yama is my favorite of all the floats in the Gion Festival. It's a crowd favorite as well, mostly because of the giant praying mantis that rides on top of it. While the parade is on, the mantis is controlled by one of the yama attendants - its arms go up and down, its wings flap, and everybody enjoys it. Interestingly enough, this yama had been out of the parade for about a hundred years because of the financial troubles of its sponsor neighborhood. It rejoined the festival in 1979, and everybody was happy.

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Taken on July 17, 2008