This community center displays four of the 11th-, 17th-, and 18th-century yatai (festival floats) used in Takayama's famous Sanno and Hachi-man festivals. More than two centuries ago Japan was ravaged by the bubonic plague, and yatai were built and paraded through the streets to appease the gods. Because this seemed to work, locals built bigger, more elaborate yatai to prevent further outbreaks. The delicately etched wooden panels, carved wooden lion-head masks for dances, and elaborate tapestries are remarkable. Technical wizardry is also involved, as each yatai contains puppets, controlled by rods and wires, that perform amazing, gymnast-like feats.
178 Sakura-machi, Takayama, Gifu-ken, 506-0858, Japan