Readers of Sword of the Taka Samurai, especially those tracing Taka Yamabuki through chapter 2 of Cold Blood, are told of a royal carriage. Western readers sometimes picture something out of Cinderella — four horses and carriage out of Louis XIV. However, the Japanese carriage of the year 1165 was somewhat different.

For example, it was pulled by oxen.

People in traditional Japanese costume for the Hollyhock Festival
Re-enactors in traditional Japanese costume preparing the for Hollyhock Festival.

In the picture above, the re-enactors are preparing the for Hollyhock Festival and they are leading a processions that must be like what Yamabuki, as a girl, experienced. Thankfully, there are no soldiers who thrash the parade-goers if they do not kowtow–bowing so low that their foreheads touch the asphalt.

Despite its beauty, the carriage was likely rough going as most anyone who has visited Williamsburg, Virginia, will recount is they take the coach ride.

Here we see the wheel of the carriage and get some idea of the scale by the people partly hidden by the cart.