A cop works the beat in Kyoto on July 16th.
That is the night before Gion Festival, and Japan's largest block party.
The event is known as Yoiyama, and on that night the hordes turn out in their summer yukata to drink beer, enjoy some squid on a stick, and check out the parade floats - "hoko" - that will be pulled around the following day.
It is a hot and wonderful time, though not for the men in blue.
Though there are rarely fights, crowd control is hard work.
The streets of downtown are closed to cars from 6 pm until 11 pm. And at times foot traffic can be dangerously heavy.
If you avoid Shijo Dori, though, from around 7 until 10 pm it is bearable.
From Kyoto Station, take the Karasuma Subway Line two stops north to Shijo Karasuma Station (which is also on the Hankyu Line for Osaka).
Maps are available in the station or at any exit.
Alternatively, for a more gradual introduction to the vast crowd, exit at Oike Subway Station, one stop north of Karasuma Station and follow the crowds south.
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TK16 Master Kendama
Tuesday, July 19, 2011