Suuzuki san invited me to see a Fall Festival in a part of Ota ku sponsored by the local Ontake (Shinto) Shrrine. The festival is ceneted on two portable shrines – one for men, the other for women. They are on very heavy platforms carried by man (16?) men. We got there during a break – after we left, the two would be carried in opposite directions down the street, then return to meet. All with much chaniting and drumming.
In addition to free food (the pork soup was outstanding) and beer and sodas, there werestalls with food, souveniers, and games for kids. And lots of people – it is a time to get out and meet your fellow residents.
There are thousands of festivals each year in Japan
The following is from wikipedia:
Festivals are often based around one event, with food stalls, entertainment, and carnival games to keep people entertained. Some are based around temples or shrines, others hanabi (fireworks), and still others around contests where the participants sport loin cloths.
There are no specific matsuri days for all of Japan; dates vary from area to area, and even within a specific area, but festival days do tend to cluster around traditional holidays such as Setsubun or Obon. Almost every locale has at least one matsuri in late summer/early autumn, usually related to the rice harvest.